Participating on this call today are Peter Pfeiffer, President and Chief Executive Officer of AptarGroup; Steve Hagge, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; and Bob Kuhn, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Peter.
Good morning, everyone. Before beginning our usual discussion regarding our operational results and outlook, I would like to take a moment to discuss the announcements in the press release regarding the increase of both our cash dividend rate and our share repurchase authorization as well as my decision to retire at the end of this year.First turning to the increases, the Board approved a 22% increase in the annual dividend rate from $0.72 per share to $0.88 per share, and the Board also approved a 4 million increase in our share repurchase authorization. Our cash generating ability and strong balance sheet allowed us to improve shareholder value with these actions. And at the same time, we remain well-positioned to take advantage of strategic opportunities in the future. On a personal note, my decision to retire at the end of the year was announced, as well as effective upon my retirement the appointment of Steve Hagge to succeed me as President and CEO. After more than 40 meaningful years of working for the company, I have decided to retire at the end of this year. I would like to point out that I am in good health and retiring now will allow me to spend more time with my family and to pursue other interests. I plan to continue my present role in the day-to-day management of the company through the end of the year and assist with the smooth transition. I plan on continuing to be associated to the company by serving as a Director.