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Dow Agro's quarterly sales, profit climb

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Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences on Thursday reported record fourth-quarter revenue of $1.3 billion, up 19 percent from the prior-year period.

Quarterly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization also edged up from $69 million to $72 million.

Dow Agro’s selling, general and administrative expenses increased 3 percent during the quarter because of new product launches and commercial activities related to recent seed acquisitions. Companywide, such costs declined 6 percent.

The Indianapolis unit’s research and development costs were up 14 percent.

Its Midland, Mich.-based parent company, meanwhile, reported sharply higher fourth-quarter profit and strong sales across the globe.

Profit was $426 million, or 37 cents per share, compared to $87 million a year ago. Excluding special items, the company earned 47 cents a share.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $13.8 billion, topping analyst expectations for $12.5 billion. Sales were helped by a 12-percent increase in volume and a 10-percent rise in prices.

Dow saw double-digit sales increases in all geographic areas, with North America leading the way with a 25-percent gain. Every business segment posted double-digit gains except for its coatings and infrastructure unit, which rose 6 percent.

Revenue from emerging nations is still booming for Dow, with growth especially strong in Thailand, India, Russia and Brazil. The company said business activity in North American and Europe shows that the economic recovery is gaining traction.

Dow expects more growth around the world, with the biggest gains coming from emerging markets. But with inflation concerns in faster-growing economies, high unemployment in the U.S. and lingering debt issues in Europe, the company said it is "prepared for a reversal in momentum."

For all of 2010, the company earned $1.97 billion, or $1.72 per share, compared with net income of $336 million, or 32 cents per share in 2009.

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