Midland, Michigan – Dow Chemical reported a sales increase of 1% or 2% to $13.7 billion (EUR10 billion) during the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year.
The figure was down on that for the second quarter of 2013, when the company reported sales of $14.6 billion. William Weideman, executive vice president, investors officer and CFO, said that while the business had driven “aggressive price actions their full benefit… was offset by higher and volatile raw materials costs.”
He said emerging geographies - Latin America, China, India, Russia – “where both price and volume increases drove revenue gains of 5%” had boosted the company’s bottom line. In Latin America, volume increased by 5% while the increase was 3% in Asia Pacific, he said.
Year-on-year sales in the coatings and infrastructure solutions segment were up 6% and EBITDA and EBITDA margins were up 15%. In the Dow coating materials segment, architectural coatings saw strong sales during the latest quarter added Weideman.
Performance materials sales took a 3% dip compared the third quarter of 2012 and, while automotive sales did see a volume gain, it was not enough to offset declines elsewhere in the business.
Weideman said he expected the fourth quarter would yield its usual seasonal slowdown.
Outlining the company’s stance on polyurethanes, Andrew Liveris, president, chairman and CEO, said the company’s cost-cutting strategy – which saw the closure of six assets in the past year – would yield and additional $100 million of benefit to the bottom line.
Glenn Wright, Dow’s business president, polyurethanes, systems and PO/PG said: “We expect the automotive industry to continue strengthening into 2014, with the trend toward light-weighting vehicles as part of an energy efficiency strategy presenting more opportunities for polyurethanes technologies to replace incumbent materials.”
He said he had noted a similar upward trend for polyurethane composites which was being driven by energy efficiency in industrial, construction and infrastructure applications. The year had also seen, he said, the continued growing popularity of foam mattresses over traditional spring mattresses in North America and Europe.
“The positives for the year were that we continued to see polyurethanes as a key enabling technology that grows at greater than GDP and is used in a wide variety of end-markets from consumer comfort, energy efficiency and industrial end-use applications.”
He said energy efficiency would continue to drive opportunities for rigid polyurethane foams across many markets next year as the rebound in construction markets gains traction. He said the industry could also expect continued growth in the coatings and adhesives arenas.
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