Dow Chemical Co's (NYSE:DOW) adjusted profit handily beat analysts' estimate as margins in its agricultural sciences business soared, helped largely by new crop protection products.
The company's shares rose 4 percent to $44.80 premarket.
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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.
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)