Midland, Michigan -- Dow Chemical Co. reported sales of $13 400 million for the first quarter of 2010, a 33-percent increase over with sales in the same period last year (excluding divestitures).
Dow said top-line growth was driven by a 16-percent increase in volume and a 17-percent increase in price, with sales rising in all geographic areas, and increases ranging from 26 percent (Latin America) to 51 percent (Asia Pacific).
"The earnings power of Dow's new portfolio was evident this quarter with our robust sales growth driven by significant volume and price increases in all geographic areas, with notable improvements in North America and Europe. When combined with broad-based EBITDA margin expansion and record equity earnings, this enabled us to achieve greatly improved operating results," said Andrew Liveris, Dow's chairman and chief executive officer, in the company's 28 April results statement.
Liveris added that he was, "particularly pleased with the accelerated growth in our performance businesses, as well as the continued growth in emerging geographies. This is right on strategy for the new Dow."
Polyurethanes feature strongly in Dow's performance businesses, both in its Performance Products segment for raw materials, and in the Performance Systems division.
In Performance Products, sales were $2800 million, a rise of 41 percent compared with sales of $2000 million in Q1 2009. Volumes rose 27 percent and prices rose 14 percent, Dow said. Volumes were up across all business units and geographic areas, led by Asia Pacific.
Polyurethanes reported growth in all geographic areas, helped by "higher sales of propylene glycol, and improving demand and favorable supply/demand balances for toluene diisocyanate (TDI)," said Dow.
First quarter earnings (EBITDA) for Performance Products was $290 million, which included restructuring charges of $3 million. This compares with EBITDA of $147 million in Q1 2009, Dow said.
In Performance Systems, which includes Dow's major polyurethane systems operations and Dow Automotive, sales were $1700 million, up 30 percent compared with sales of $1300 million in Q1 2009. Volumes rose by 27 percent, and prices rose 3 percent. Volume increased across all geographic areas, as well as in every business unit.
The company said that Dow Automotive and Dow Elastomers reported the highest volume growth, "largely driven by a pronounced increase in automotive demand, particularly in North America and China.
Dow Automotive secured additional business with its new BETASEAL glass bonding technology - which uses urethane adhesives, -- and "reduces cure times and delivers productivity gains for customers."
Dow said in Formulated Systems it saw volume gains, most notably in Asia Pacific, driven by sales into wind-energy applications in China for epoxy systems.
Earnings (EBITDA) for Performance Systems were $204 million in Q1, compared with $103 million in Q1 2009.