Dow Agro earnings slip on low crop commodity prices

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Dow Chemical Co. saw profit surge in the second quarter, thanks mostly to a large gain related to the restructuring of its ownership in Dow Corning, the company announced Thursday.

But revenue and earnings declined at Dow AgroSciences, the Indianapolis-based division that has about 1,500 area employees.

Dow Agro sales during the quarter were $1.6 billion, down from $1.7 billion in the same period of 2015.

“Sales were impacted by low crop commodity prices, high industry inventories and currency headwinds,” Dow Agro said in a written statement.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, declined from $255 million to $228 million.

The company said crop protection volume was lower primarily due to reduced demand for generic herbicides and the divestiture of AgroFresh.

“Seeds volume declined as double-digit growth in corn was more than offset by soft demand in sunflower and soybeans,” the company said.

Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical announced last month that it was now the sole owner of Dow Corning's silicones unit, which had previously been equally owned by Dow Chemical and Corning Inc.

Dow Chemical reported profit of $3.12 billion, or $2.61 per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $1.14 billion, or 97 cents per share, a year ago.

Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains, came to 95 cents per share. That easily topped the 85 cents per share that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Revenue slipped to $11.95 billion from $12.91 billion, but still beat the $11.27 billion in revenue that analysts polled by Zacks predicted.

Shareholders approved the $59 billion merger of agriculture and chemicals companies DuPont and Dow Chemical last week. Once complete, the century-old companies plan to break up into three parts. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, if it gets the nod from regulators.

In February, the companies said Wilmington, Delaware, will be the headquarters for their combined agricultural business, but that Indianapolis will be one of its two “global business centers.”

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