The company will, he said, remain intensely focused on the actions within its control. 'We will upsize our 2020 operating expense reduction target from $350m to $500m,' he claimed.
Dow will also restructure to increase its EBITDA by $300m by the end of 2021. 'This programme includes a 6% reduction in Dow's global workforce, as well as actions to exit uncompetitive assets,' Fitterling said.
Dow sales were $8.4bn in the second quarter of 2020. This represents a fall of 24% compared with the same period in 2019.
Operating EBIT across the business fell by 95% to $57m. In the same period in the previous year, the figure was $1bn.
Fitterling added that despite the headline falls and losses at EBIT level, Dow had increased cash flow in the quarter. 'Extended economic lockdowns shifted the inflection point for demand recovery in key markets and geographies into June, where we began to see gradual improvements across most industries,’ he said. ‘The growing recovery in China and early signs of improvement in Western Europe are positive indicators for the US and Latin America.’
Sales in the industrial intermediates & infrastructure (II&I) business, which includes polyurethanes, fell by 28% between the first half of 2019 and 2020. Operating EBIT in the division plunged from $154m in the second quarter of 2019 to a loss of $220m in the 2020 quarter.
Sales in the polyurethane and construction chemicals segment of II&I were down because of lower volumes and prices. Demand was significantly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with shutdowns in the construction, furniture and bedding, and automotive sectors cited as important influences.
There was some volume growth in the Asia Pacific region, but this was more than offset by declines in other regions.
Fitterling also namechecked the company's new MobilityScience platform for the transportation industry as a new way for customers to see his company's product offerings.