Dow Agro sees sales fall as ag market stalls

Sales at Dow AgroSciences LLC fell roughly 10 percent in the second quarter due to lower demand in the Americas and a stronger U.S. dollar that dampened sales results overseas.

Indianapolis-based Dow Agro pulled in $1.7 billion during the three months ended June 30, according to a report Thursday by its parent company, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co. That was down from sales of $1.9 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

However, Dow’s profits rose, due to cost-cutting and the sale of one product line. Compared to the same quarter last year, the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and depreciation rose 8 percent to $269 million.

In North and Latin America, commodity prices have been flat, which slackened demand for Dow’s herbicides and seed products. Wet weather also caused some farmers to do fewer applications of Dow’s herbicides.

The company noted, however, that sales of its newer crop protection products rose 5 percent during the quarter.

Overall, Dow Chemical’s sales also fell, from $14.9 billion a year ago to $12.9 billion in the most recent quarter. The stronger U.S. dollar and lower oil prices were the big reasons.

But lower prices for oil and propane, which are feed stock for many of Dow Chemical’s products, also helped the company boost its profits to $1.22 billion for the quarter. Earnings per share totaled 97 cents, up from 73 cents in the same quarter last year.

Profit from operations totaled 91 cents, which was 23 percent higher than a year ago. On that basis, analysts were expecting 82 cents per share, according to a survey by Bloomberg News.

Dow Chemical shares were down 2.5 percent in mid-morning trading on Thursday, fetching $48.76.

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