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Dow Inc. Third-Quarter Loss Narrows as Plastics Demand Improves

Dow Inc. posts a narrower third-quarter loss as demand for its plastics and other processed materials recovers.

Chemical and plastics giant Dow Inc.  (DOW) - Get Dow Inc. Report on Thursday posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss as the coronavirus pandemic continued to impact demand for its processed materials both at home and abroad.

Midland, Mich.-based Dow said it posted a net loss of $1 million, or 4 cents a share, vs. income of $347 million, or 45 cents a share, in the year-ago period. 

On an operating basis, excluding one-time restructuring-related charges and other costs, Dow said it earned 50 cents a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 32 cents a share.

Sales were $9.71 billion, down 10% from $10.76 billion in the year-earlier quarter though slightly above analysts’ forecasts of $9.5 billion. Operating earnings before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $1.49 billion.

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“Resilient” demand for its materials as well as improvement in demand for consumer durable goods-related chemicals and plastics helped bolster sales during the quarter, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling said in a statement, noting 12% price gains in polyethylene - the key chemical used to make plastics.

At the same time, Dow said it completed the sale of its North American rail infrastructure assets, receiving $315 million in the quarter. The company also signed an agreement to divest certain U.S. Gulf Coast marine and terminal operations and assets that will provide an additional $620 million in cash before year end.

While Fitterling called Dow’s third-quarter rebound “significant,” he noted that the recovery has been uneven across markets, “and we expect this will continue in the near term.”

Shares of Dow were up 2.68% at $49.87 in trading on Thursday.