Dow Chemical 2Q performance tops Street’s view

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Dow Chemical Co., which expects to complete a historic merger with DuPont Co. this year, reported a profit for the second quarter that beat analysts’ forecasts.

Dow Chemical Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris cited the company’s full acquisition of Dow Corning Corp.’s silicone unit – effective June 1 – as a main reason for the company’s $3.1 billion earnings in the second quarter of 2016, a $2 billion increase from the first quarter.

Dow Chemical anticipates the acquisition of Dow Corning will add more than $1 billion to earnings in the future.

The company announced in June the acquisition will result in about 700 job cuts in Midland and 2,500 globally. Dow Chemical employs more than 5,000 workers in Midland, including about 1,600 at its headquarters. An additional 1,400 work in the city for Dow Corning.

Last week, Dow Corning notified the state of Michigan of impending layoffs at two Dow Corning sites: 110 workers will be laid off at the Bay City facility; 238 will be laid off from the Corporate Center in Auburn. The layoffs “are expected to be permanent and are expected to begin on Sept. 30, 2016,” according to the letters.

Dow Chemical on Thursday reported earnings per share of a profit of $2.61, up from 97 cents per share a year ago. Adjusted for one-time gains and costs, second-quarter earnings per share came to 95 cents per share.

Just over a week ago, Dow Chemical and DuPont shareholders approved a historic $130 billion merger. It’s expected the deal will close by November, forming the second-largest chemicals company in the world.

Liveris stressed in a shareholders call that the merger does not create a “mega-company.”

The merged companies will split following the merger into three separate publicly traded companies, one of which will be based in Midland.

Dow’s second-quarter earnings came in over Wall Street forecasts. Nineteen analysts projected Dow would post earnings of 86 cents per share.

Second-quarter sales were reported at $12 billion, down from $12.9 billion last year due to lower oil prices, but again surpassing Wall Street. The average estimate of 15 analysts was $11.24 billion in revenue.

Operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to $2.5 billion, which the company called a record. During a Thursday shareholders call, CFO Howard Ungerleider the growth came from across the company.

Liveris attributed the company’s growth to the acquisition of Dow Corning and the pending Dow-DuPont merger, which he called “key milestones.”

Dow Chemical shares have risen to $53.67 a share from $49.93 a share at the start of the year.

Speaking to investors, Liveris commented briefly on the potential effect of a new presidential administration on Dow Chemical’s trading. Dow operates in 37 countries.

“(The U.S.) hasn’t really been exposed to the positives of trade. ... I would like to see the U.S. get to a trade agreement,” he said. “(But) I’m not particularly concerned with the rhetoric that’s going on right now.”

Liveris’ comments come as presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton volley on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and tariffs.

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Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau