By David Reed, UT EditorSalt Lake City, Utah-The Huntsman companies reported third quarter 2004 earnings (EBITDA) of $293.2 million, up 75.7 percent from the figure for the same period last year, despite including $33.9 million of restructuring and other charges. And the firm's polyurethanes business also reported solid improvement, with a 42.1-percent increase in EDITDA for the same period to $97.9 million.Total PU sales revenues for the period rose 24.5 percent to $743.9 million, thanks primarily to a 19-percent increase in average MDI selling prices and 13-percent higher sales volume in MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) as compared to the 2003 period, according to a 15 Nov. news release from the firm. The increase in MDI prices resulted from improved market demand, tighter supply, the strength of the major European currencies versus the US dollar, and higher raw material and energy costs, the Huntsman statement added. MDI sales volumes reflect further extension of markets for MDI and recent improvements in global economic conditions, the firm said.The increase in EBITDA in the polyurethanes segment came despite $9.9 million of restructuring charges recorded in the third quarter of 2004 and $3.7 million for the same period in 2003, Huntsman added.* Separately, Huntsman said it has just lodged a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. Huntsman expects to raise about $1250 million from the offering, which it intends to use to repay debts. Existing stockholders are also expected to participate in the offering, the firm added in a 24 Nov. statement. Huntsman Corp. is the holding company that will own the existing Huntsman companies, the statement concluded."