Dow Chemical Profit Beats Estimates
Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW – $53.42) said earnings in the second quarter rose to beat estimates by two cents while sales were in line with the Street’s view. The chemical company said adjusted earnings rose to $0.74 per share from $0.64 the year earlier, topping the $0.72 average estimate from analysts in the wake of cost controls and decent revenue growth on higher prices. Sales rose 2% to $14.9 billion, in line with the consensus estimate as growth improved in all the company’s market segments. Sales growth in the quarter was led by Dow’s electronic and functional materials segment, which reported a 5% increase in revenue to $1.2 billion. Sales in its performance plastics segment increased about 2% to $3.75 billion, while its coatings and infrastructure solutions and agricultural sciences segments each reported sales growth of about 3%, to $1.95 billion and $1.91 billion, respectively. The company is still under pressure by activist investor Daniel Loeb of Third Point, LLC to split off its petrochemicals business from segments that make specialty chemicals for agriculture, food, electronics and pharmaceuticals. However, management has maintains that breaking up the company would hurt overall operations and shareholder value, as the petrochemical operations provide cost-effective components for Dow’s other businesses. However, Dow plans to raise as much as $6 billion from non-core asset sales by the end of 2015 and has put its epoxy business and some chlorine and derivatives assets up for sale. The shares, looking out to late decade, have decent total return potential, thanks in part to the $1.48 annual dividend yielding 2.8%. The company’s businesses throw off strong cash flow to support higher payouts in the years to come and support its business strategy. The shares, although not without risk, should be considered for a well diversified aggressive account for above-average earnings and dividend growth.