The Dow Chemical Company announced Friday that its board of directors has approved a share buy-back program, authorizing the repurchase of up to $1.5 billion of the company's common stock. 

The Midland, Mich.-based chemical manufacturer said it will use excess funds to deleverage, return value to its shareholders and invest in "attractive, high-margin organic growth" for its downstream businesses.

RELATED: Dow Chemical leaves industry group amid natural gas export row

"This repurchase program underscores the board's confidence in Dow’s earnings, cash flow and growth potential as we continue executing against our strategic agenda, and illustrates our ongoing commitment to increasingly reward shareholders,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer.

This represents the latest action in a series of measures Dow has taken to increasingly reward shareholders. In 2012, the company reported a 34 percent increase in dividends declared per share versus 2011.