Dow Chemical 3Q profit falls, but revenue up

By Sandy Shore

AP Business Writer

The Dow Chemical Co. said its third-quarter financial performance improved as it sold more products on stronger demand, particularly in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The chemical manufacturing giant, which produces basic ingredients for everything from toys to food additives, said revenue rose 7 percent and it recorded a 9 percent increase in overall prices from the year-ago quarter.

The nation's largest chemical manufacturer by revenue said the results give it "confidence that a sustained global economic recovery, led by emerging economies, is firming despite headwinds."

For the July-September quarter, Dow Chemical reported a 28 percent decline in net income to $512 million, or 45 cents per share, which included some one-time items. Excluding those, Dow Chemical said it had earnings of 54 cents a share.

A year ago, Dow Chemical reported net income of $711 million, or 63 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Those results included one-time gains of about $785 million from asset sales. Excluding those, earnings were 24 cents a share.

Revenue rose to $12.87 billion from $12.1 billion a year ago, excluding the impact of divestitures during the quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who usually exclude one-time items from their estimates, expected earnings of 41 cents a share on revenue of $12.81 billion.

Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris credited the improvement to solid demand recovery in North America and Europe and building momentum in emerging regions.

"Volume increased double digits and was up across every single one of our segments and in every geography," he told analysts during a conference call.

The company said its major markets like electronics, coatings, automotive and packaging continue to show strength despite continued high unemployment and continued weakness in construction.

Demand in North America and Europe was strong for lubricants and other heat transfer fluids used in solar power applications.

Susquehanna analyst Don Carson said the company's results improved from the second quarter, when it was hurt by some operational issues.

Dow also benefited from plentiful supplies and low prices for natural gas in North America, which boosted the basic plastics and chemicals area, he said.

Shares of Dow fell 38 cents to $30.83 in midday trading after rising as high as $31.90 earlier in the session.

Dow's performance follows third-quarter results from chemical manufacturer DuPont, which said it benefited from the global economy, particularly the Asia Pacific region.

DuPont's third-quarter net income fell as patents expired in its pharmaceuticals division but results topped Wall Street expectations. Its revenue rose 15 percent, helped by higher volumes and better sales in emerging markets.

Published: Mon, Nov 1, 2010