Dow Chemical Posts Earnings Gains
Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW – $34.70) reported adjusted earnings of $0.64 per share. This compares with earnings of $0.55 per share in the same quarter last year. Analysts had anticipated $0.63. Results this quarter were affected by the final resolution of the K-Dow arbitration and Dow’s receipt of a direct cash payment of nearly $2.2 billion, boosting the EPS to $1.87 on a non-recurring basis. Dow subsequently applied this award to debt reduction, driving the Company’s net debt to total capitalization down to 36.4%. Dow generated $3.7 billion in cash flow from operations in the quarter. Year-to-date, Dow has generated $4.2 billion in cash flow from operations, representing an improvement of $2.8 billion compared with the prior year. Sales were up slightly to $14.6 billion, from $14.5 billion in the year-ago period. Sales gains were led by Agricultural Sciences, which was up 10% and achieved a first-half sales record of nearly $4 billion. Sales also grew in Performance Materials, up 1%. Full year earnings can still make $2.40 and the growing and well covered dividend yields 3.7%. Dow shares have above average total return appeal at current price levels. Aggressive investors with an eye on income and who have a long time horizon may find these shares a decent holding. I envision solid growth in sales and share earnings for the company in the years ahead as the company should benefit from broad-based fundamentals in several markets, including agriculture and food.