Dow Chemical Beats Street's Quarterly Profit Views

Earnings Reuters

Dow Chemical Co's (DOW) adjusted profit handily beat analysts' estimate as margins in its agricultural sciences business soared, helped largely by new crop protection products.

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The company's shares rose 4 percent to $44.80 premarket.

Sales of new crop protection products jumped 23 percent in the fourth-quarter ended Dec. 31, led by Spinetoram and Isoclast insecticides. Total sales in the agriculture business rose 5 percent to a record $1.86 billion.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) at the unit rose 40 percent to $222 million.

Dow has been focusing on more profitable businesses such as packaging, electronics and agriculture, and divesting low-margin assets.

The company plans to raise $7.5 billion to $8 billion from asset sales by mid-2016.

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Net income available for the company's shareholders fell 24 percent to $734 million, or 63 cents per share, in the quarter, hurt by a $500 million loss related to abandonment of a plant in Tennessee by a joint venture and other charges.

Adjusted profit was 85 cents per share, well ahead of the average analyst estimate of 69 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales were almost unchanged at $14.38 billion and slightly below the average analyst estimate of $14.48 billion.

Dow's joint venture, Dow Corning, abandoned a polycrystalline silicon manufacturing plant in Tennessee.

Up to Wednesday's close of $43.03, Dow's shares had slipped nearly 20 percent over the past six months.

(Reporting By Swetha Gopinath and Kanika Sikka in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)