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Dow Stock Surges As Company Bounces Back To Profit

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Dow Chemical photo

Dow Chemical photo

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MIDLAND (WWJ) – Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) reported fourth quarter net income of $963 million, or 79 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to a loss of $716 million, or 61 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Revenue rose to $14.39 billion, from $13.92 billion a year earlier.

Analysts had expected net income of 43 cents a share and revenue of $14.14 billion, according to FactSet.

For the full year, net income was $4.45 billion or $3.68 a share, compared to $842 million or 70 cents a share in 2012. Full year revenue was $57.08 billion, up from $56.79 billion in 2012.

Wall Street liked the report, boosting the company’s stock 4.5 percent, or $1.95 a share, to $45.01 a share, in early trading Wednesday.

The company also reported “adjusted” net income of 65 cents a share in the fourth quarter, compared with adjusted net income of 33 cents a year earlier. Adjusted earnings exclude the effects of writedown of the value of assets and goodwill, restructuring charges, gains on the sale of businesses, losses on the early repayment of debt and charges for penalties and interest in tax disputes.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $2.3 billion, an increase of 31 percent from the year-ago period, with gains in every operating segment. Sales rose in all operating segments except feedstocks and energy. Gains were led by record fourth quarter revenue in agricultural sciences (up 13 percent), coatings and infrastructure solutions (up 10 percent) and performance plastics (up 8 percent).

Volume was up 2 percent, led by gains in Latin America (up 13 percent). Sales in the United States were up 3 percent. Prices for Dow’s products were up 1 percent, due to gains in performance plastics (up 7 percent) and performance materials (up 1 percent), partially offset by declines in feedstocks and energy (down 6 percent).

Dow said it exceeded its target of $500 million in operating cost cuts for the year. The company said the cost cuts would reduce the company’s employment by 2,800 jobs.

Dow said it cut debt in the quarter nearly $660 million, bringing Dow’s debt-to-EBITDA ratio to 1.4 and debt-to-capitalization to 0.3, both well below the company’s historical average.

“Dow’s fourth quarter and full-year performance is the result of successful execution against our stated goals and commitments throughout the year,” chairman, president and CEO Andrew N. Liveris said in a statement. “Our focus in running a disciplined, integrated strategy, and managing our portfolio with targeted growth and productivity metrics by business and value chain was clearly evident in the quarter — demonstrated by the EBITDA gains we achieved across every operating segment. We also made consistent strides against our aggressive portfolio targets, illustrated by $850 million in proceeds from divestitures in 2013, coupled with the announced carve-out of $5 billion of commodity chemicals businesses. Our strategy and actions are delivering record cash flow and we remain squarely focused on increasingly rewarding shareholders, funding high-return organic growth projects and further enhancing our capital structure.”

For the quarter, research and development expenses were $477 million, up from $463 million a year earlier. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $838 million, up from $741 million a year earlier, due to increased spending in agricultural sciences and company-wide employee performance-based compensation costs.

Sales in electronic and functional materials were $1.1 billion, up 3 percent from a year earlier. Equity earnings for the segment were $31 million, up from $13 million last year, with the increase driven primarily by Dow Corning.

Sales also increased in coatings and infrastructure solutions, to $1.7 billion, up 10 percent from the prior year, with sales gains in North America, Europe-Middle East-Africa, and Asia Pacific, driven by double-digit volume growth in each region. Equity earnings were $38 million vs. a loss of $46 million a year ago.

Agricultural sciences reported record fourth quarter sales of $1.8 billion, up 13 percent from the year-ago period. Sales gains were broad-based across all geographies, led by double-digit growth in Latin America and North America. EBITDA for the segment was a fourth quarter record of $177 million, up 13 percent from $156 million in the year-ago period.

Sales in Performance Materials were $3.4 billion, up 1 percent versus the year-ago period with gains in North America, EMEA and Latin America. Volume was flat, while price rose 1 percent compared with the same quarter last year. Equity losses for the quarter were $18 million versus losses of $25 million in the same quarter last year.

Sales in Performance Plastics were $3.9 billion, up 5 percent from the same quarter last year. Excluding the impact of divestitures, sales were up 8 percent, with double-digit gains achieved in Latin America, North America, and Asia Pacific. Equity earnings for the segment were $80 million, up from $33 million in the year-ago period.

Sales in Feedstocks and Energy were $2.4 billion, down 6 percent from the same period last year. Volume was flat while price declined by 6 percent, with the decrease primarily due to lower aromatic prices within hydrocarbons. Equity earnings were $140 million, down from $152 million in the same quarter last year.

Commenting on Dow’s outlook, Liveris said: “We exceeded our goals in 2013 despite the challenging market conditions that existed throughout the year, and this is clear evidence of our ability to manage all aspects of our integrated business to generate strong financial performance in an uncertain world. While we are seeing positive trends in major economies as we enter 2014, global growth remains tentative, continuing to drive business uncertainty. Against this backdrop, we believe we are in a strong position to further enhance shareholder value. Our actions to improve return on capital, grow profitability and generate cash are accelerating as we go deeper into attractive end-use markets, exit complex but non-strategic assets and value chains, and maintain a strong focus on productivity metrics and cost controls. We will continue to allocate our capital carefully, focusing on highly accretive growth projects, such as our new product launches in Dow AgroSciences, as well as investments on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in our Sadara joint venture, which reflect positive improvements in our already strong, low-cost positions and enhance our downstream, value-add franchises. Consistent with the last 12 months, our unrelenting focus in 2014 on these collective actions will continue to drive our earnings momentum and further increase value for our shareholders.”

To listen to a conference call discussing the results, visit http://www.dow.com.

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