Dow Chemical earnings rise sharply for 4th quarter


MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Dow Chemical Co. reported sharply higher fourth-quarter profit Thursday with the industrial giant reporting strong sales across the globe.

It said it earned $426 million, or 37 cents per share. That compares with net income of $87 million, or 8 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding items, the Midland, Mich. 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.

Shares rose nearly 3 percent, or $1.01, to $37.65 before the market opened.