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Albemarle Corporation (ALB - Snapshot Report) has increased its quarterly dividend 15% to 27.5 cents per share from the prior payout of 24 cents a share. The raised dividend will be paid on Apr 1, 2014, to stockholders of record as of Mar 14, 2014.

The recent revision marked the company’s 20th straight quarterly dividend increase. The hike brings the annual dividend to $1.10 per share.

Prior to this, a dividend hike was declared on Feb 12, 2013, and the increase was 20% to 24 cents per share from its prior payout of 20 cents a share.

The move adopted by Albemarle testifies its commitment to boost shareholders’ value, while retaining the financial strength of the company. This action also reflects the company’s confidence in the future of the business.

Albemarle, a leading maker of specialty chemicals, posted its fourth-quarter 2013 results last month. The company reported adjusted earnings (excluding special items) of $1.08 a share in the quarter compared with $1.17 a share earned in the year-ago quarter. The results surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.04 a share, reflecting a positive surprise of 3.85%.

Revenues were $692 million in the quarter, up 0.6% from $687.6 million in the year-ago quarter, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $671 million. The results were supported by higher volumes in Polymer Solutions and Catalysts, partly offset by a decline in Fine Chemistry volumes, lower pass through metals pricing and lower Flame Retardants pricing.

Albemarle implemented several strategic initiatives in the catalysts and bromine franchises in 2013 and expects the initiatives to lead to growth in 2014 and beyond. Going forward, the company remains confident in the strategies undertaken and with the cash generation of its businesses.

Albemarle has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the chemical industry worth considering include Methanex Corp. (MEOH - Analyst Report), Northern Technologies International Corp. and PPG Industries Inc. (PPG - Analyst Report). While both Methanex and Northern Technologies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), PPG holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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