The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a 15 percent increase in the first quarter dividend, from $0.32 per share to $0.37 per share. In line with its stated priorities, the Company also announced that it has expanded its authorized share buy-back program to $4.5 billion from $1.5 billion of common stock to be completed in 2014. Collectively, the increase to Dow’s dividend and expansion of its stock repurchase objectives represent the latest in a series of strategic actions aligned to the Company’s previously-communicated plans to consistently and increasingly remunerate shareholders through ongoing earnings growth. “The Board’s actions today finalize a decision that it has been reviewing on an ongoing basis with particular focus over the last several quarters. The 15 percent dividend increase and the $4.5 billion share repurchase authorization reflect our confidence in Dow's performance and successful strategy to operate in uncertain macro environments. This strategy focuses on our integrated portfolio, with strict productivity metrics and disciplined capital allocation priorities,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We continue to control operating costs and carefully invest in our integrated business value chains to grow in select higher-margin end-use markets. At the same time, Dow’s financial performance and the significant progress we have made on our balance sheet give us both the confidence and the flexibility to increase our dividend and accelerate our share repurchase program. We are creating significant shareholder value – which always has been and always will be the Board’s and management’s top priority.” The dividend will be payable on April 30, 2014 to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014. This will mark the 410th consecutive cash dividend issued by the Company. Dow has paid its shareholders cash dividends every quarter since 1912. Purchases under the shareholder repurchase program may be made over time in open market or privately negotiated transactions.