Dow Chemical's Profit Rises, But Shares Decline

Dow Chemical Co. said its third-quarter profit rose 17% as the chemical company's performance plastics segment helped drive higher revenue and prices.

However, shares of the company declined as results fell below analyst expectations.

Dow and other chemical makers are trying to capitalize on a U.S. drilling boom that has held down the cost of natural gas—one of their main raw materials—but are struggling with tepid demand, particularly in Europe.

Dow said earlier this year that it wanted to raise $1.5 billion over a span of 18 months by shedding noncore businesses, and it has cut jobs and shut plants in an effort to trim expenses.

On Thursday, Chief Executive Andrew N. Liveris said the company is moving forward with its divestiture plans, and said the actions are valued at a minimum of $3 billion to $4 billion. "The proceeds of these divestitures will create further capacity for the company to generate returns to shareholders," he added.

Earlier this month, the company agreed to sell its polypropylene licensing and catalysts business to fellow chemicals company W.R. Grace & Co. for $500 million.

In the latest period, Dow reported a profit of $679 million, up from $582 million a year ago. On a per-share basis, which factors in preferred dividends, profit rose to 49 cents from 42 cents. Excluding restructuring costs, earnings were 50 cents a share in the latest period.

Net sales edged up 0.7% to $13.73 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting per-share earnings of 54 cents a share on revenue of $14 billion.

Performance materials division sales shrank 3%. Performance plastics sales increased 3.3%, while sales in feedstock and energy slid 7.7%.

Volume dropped 2%, with all major regions except Latin America posting lower volume. But prices were up 3%, led by performance plastics and agricultural sciences.

Shares closed Wednesday at $41.04, up 27% since the start of the year.