Dow Chemical (DOW) - Get Report said second-quarter sales fell 7% from a year earlier to $12 billion, with the chemicals maker blaming lower hydrocarbons and raw material prices and the sale of a division to explain the decline.
However, the Midland, Mich.-based company also reported a big increase in earnings per share to $2.61, up from 97 cents a year ago, which it said primarily reflected a gain related to the restructuring of the ownership of Dow Corning.
Operating earnings in the quarter were 95 cents a share, topping analysts' forecasts of 85 cents. Wall Street expected sales of $11.23 billion.
""Dow's relentless and disciplined execution once again delivered another quarter of operating earnings growth and margin expansion -- marking our 15th quarter in a row -- through a variety of challenging geopolitical and market conditions, and outpacing our peers," said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris in a statement.
Shares were rising 1.5% in premarket trading.
Dow Chemical, which divested its Chlorine Products business in a merger with Olin (OLN) - Get Report in a deal valued at about $5 billion, said sales volume grew 2% on a reported basis, but was up 4% excluding the impact of divestitures and acquisitions.
Dow also said its ownership restructure of Dow Corning's Silicones business, which was completed on June 1, is expected add to operating earnings per share in the first full year.
It said operating Ebitda increased to $2.5 billion, as gains in its infrastructure solutions, consumer solutions and performance plastics divisions "more than offset lower quality earnings primarlily driven by reduced earnings from the Kuwait joint ventures" as well as start-up expenses elsewhere.
It also pointed to $90 million in productivity savings in the quarter, which brought first half savings to nearly $180 million. This meant productivity savings are tracking well above the 2016 target of $300 million.
Looking to the future, Liveris said that despite the varied economic landscape in different parts of the world, the company continues to see "favorable conditions and robust demand in our core consumer-led markets of packaging, automotive and construction."