Dow Chemical 3Q profit soars on higher prices

By Samantha Bomkamp

AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dow Chemical Co. said Thursday its third-quarter earnings jumped 59 percent on higher prices and sales growth in Asia and Latin America that countered lower sales volume closer to home.

Its shares rose more than 4 percent in premarket trading.

The Midland, Mich., company reported net income of $815 million, or 69 cents per share, for the July-September period, up from $512 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 62 cents per share compared with 54 cents per share in the third-quarter of 2010.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $15.11 billion from $12.87 billion a year ago. Sales volume was flat, as decreases in North America were offset by improvements in Latin America and Asia.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of 63 cents per share on $14.63 billion in sales.

Shares rose $1.11, or 4.1 percent, to $28 in premarket trading.

Dow said the biggest revenue gains were in its feedstock and energy unit as well as its agricultural sciences division.

Sales in feedstocks and energy sales rose 34 percent to $2.9 billion. Sales soared 36 percent while volume fell 2 percent. Feedstocks are raw materials used for fuel, including everything from oil to waste vegetable oil.

Agricultural sciences sales rose 27 percent to $1.2 billion. Volume increased 18 percent, while prices rose 9 percent. Dow said this business continues to be driven by products that help crops grow bigger and more plentiful.

Geographically, sales grew the most in Latin America. Volume in North America fell 3 percent, but prices rose by 17 percent.

"Our investments in emerging regions enabled us to capitalize on growth where it is happening most rapidly, even as developed regions paused in their economic recovery," Chairman and CEO Andrew N. Liveris said.

Sales volume was also lower in coatings and performance materials units, but double-digit price increases made up for the decline. Performance plastics volume rose 1 percent and prices jumped by 15 percent.

Published: Fri, Oct 28, 2011