Dow's net profit plunges 97% in Q1 on continued weak demand

30 April 2009 12:18  [Source: ICIS news]

Dow plant at Midland MichiganLONDON (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical’s first-quarter net profit plunged 97% in the first quarter to $24m (€18m), down from $941m in the same period last year due to continued weak demand, the largest US chemicals producer said on Thursday.

Sales dropped 39% to $9.09bn on lower volumes and prices, reflecting lower demand and inventory destocking in most value chains, Dow said

“We achieved profitability in spite of continued weak demand throughout most of our value chains and further deflation in feedstock and energy costs which put pressure on prices, particularly in the basics segments,” said Dow CEO Andrew Liveris.

Dow’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) dropped over 88% year on year to $159m as profitability in all business segments declined, with the exception of Agricultural Sciences.

The Basic Chemicals segment reported a $92m EBIT loss from a gain of $159m a year earlier, while Basic Plastics dropped to a gain of just $4m from $427m.

Group volumes declined 19%, while selling prices were 20% lower than the same quarter of 2008.

In its outlook, Dow said it was not counting on material improvement in global economic conditions in the near term.

“We remain focused on managing what is in our control, namely reducing costs and capital spending, delivering on our action plan to de-leverage our balance sheet, and smoothly and successfully integrating Rohm and Haas into the new Dow,” said Liveris.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Mark Watts
+44 20 8652 3214

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