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Eastman Chemical Company’s (EMN - Analyst Report) Board has approved an increase in its share repurchase authorization by up to an additional $300 million of Eastman Chemical common stock. This is in addition to the amount remaining under the existing $300 million of share repurchases authorized in Feb 2011.

Eastman Chemical expects to fund the share buyback through a combination of available cash on hand and purchases made from time to time in either the open market or private transactions. Decisions regarding the timing, quantity, and nature of share repurchases will be exclusively made by management, depending on the prevailing market conditions, applicable securities laws and other relevant factors.

The moves adopted by Eastman Chemical testify its commitment to boost shareholders’ value while retaining its strong financial position. The company bought back shares worth $32 million in the most recent quarter.

Last month, Eastman Chemical posted its first-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings (from continuing operations) of $1.62 per share. The adjusted earnings exclude costs related to the acquisition of Solutia Inc. as well as restructuring and impairment charges.

Eastman Chemical reported a profit (from continuing operation) of $247 million or $1.57 a share, a 55% year-over-year surge. The bottom line was boosted by a healthy rise in revenues.

Revenues surged roughly 27% year over year to $2,307 million. The top line was driven by strong gains across the Additives and Functional Products and Advanced Materials divisions and the contributions of the Solutia acquisition.

Eastman Chemical feels that its strong foothold in key markets, vast geographic presence and diversified end markets will help it to deliver strong earnings. However, uncertainty regarding the timing of a recovery in Europe and volatility in raw material and energy costs remain as overhangs.

Eastman Chemical currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the chemical industry that are worth considering include Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. , Celanese Corporation (CE - Analyst Report) and Methanex Corporation (MEOH - Analyst Report). While Shin-Etsu Chemical retains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both Celanese and Methanex hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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