The Dow Chemical's CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The Dow Chemical (DOW)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 27, 2011 10:00 am ET

Executives

Andrew N. Liveris - Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairman of Executive Committee, Member of Environment, Health & Safety Committee and Member of Business Operations Committee

Doug May - Vice President of Investor Relations

William H. Weideman - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Analysts

P.J. Juvekar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

David L. Begleiter - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Brian Maguire - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Peter Butler - Glen Hill Investments

Frank J. Mitsch - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Donald Carson - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Mark W. Connelly - Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc., Research Division

William Young - Longbow Capital

Jeffrey J. Zekauskas - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Kevin W. McCarthy - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Hassan I. Ahmed - Alembic Global Advisors

John P. McNulty - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good day, everyone and welcome to the Dow Chemical Company Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Also today's call is being recorded. Now I'd like to turn the call over to Doug May, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Doug May

Thank you, Laura. Good morning, everyone and welcome. As usual, we're making this call available to investors and the media via webcast. This call is the property of the Dow Chemical Company so any redistribution, retransmission or rebroadcast of this call in any form without Dow's written consent is strictly prohibited. On the call with me today are Andrew Liveris, Dow's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Bill Weideman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Dave Johnson, Director in Investor Relations.

Around 6:30 this morning, October 27, our earnings release went out on Business Wire and was posted on the Internet on dow.com. We have prepared slides to supplement our comments in this conference call. These slides are posted on our website on the Presentations page of the Investor Relations section and through the link to our webcast.

Now some of our comments today include statements about our expectations for the future. Those expectations do involve risks and uncertainties. We can't guarantee the accuracy of any forecasts or estimates, and we don't plan to update any forward-looking statements during the quarter.

If you'd like more information on the risks involved in forward-looking statements, please see our SEC filings. Additionally, some of our comments reference to non-GAAP financial measures. A reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures and other associated disclosures are contained in our earnings release and on our website.

Unless otherwise specified, all comparisons presented today will be on a year-over-year basis. EBITDA, EBITDA margins and earnings comparisons exclude certain items. Our earnings release, as well as our recent SEC filings are available on the Internet at dow.com. The agenda for today's call is on Slide 3.

And I'll now hand it over to Andrew.

Andrew N. Liveris

Thank you, Doug. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us. If you turn to Slide 4, 3 weeks ago at our Investor Day in New York, I shared with you our view on the macroeconomic environment and our confidence in our growth strategy. Our results announced this morning reflect the trends and data we provided during our event and clearly demonstrate why our confidence is steadfast. We delivered another quarter of robust earnings. Our EBITDA reached the third quarter and year-to-date record. Our sales gains were broad-based, powered by the strength of our transformed and diversified portfolio.

Every single one of our operating segments and geographies grew in revenue and our Agricultural Sciences segment delivered record sales in the quarter. Price rose in all operating segments, more than offsetting the significant increase in purchased feedstock and energy costs. And on the demand side, our diversified geographic presence served us well. We delivered record sales in emerging regions with a specially robust growth in Latin America and Asia Pacific.

In fact, the large fast-growing countries of China, India and Brazil all delivered impressive double-digit volume growth. And once again this quarter, we delivered record sales in China. This really enabled us to offset soft demand in the United States and Europe. Our joint ventures also continued their strong performance and we achieved a year-to-date record. And finally, our innovation strength continued as we delivered nearly 1/3 of our sales from products launched in the last 5 years.

This performance is a clear proof point that our focus on execution on controlling the things we can control is enabling us to deliver even in the midst of these uncertain times. We are operating from a position of financial strength, evidenced by our continued progress in reducing debt. And importantly, we also have levers in place that enable us to mitigate risks to our earnings trajectory making us more resilient in this rapidly changing environment.

That is why we believe that Dow's purposefully built to weather economic uncertainty in the near term. We're more agile, more flexible, more diverse. And we are an enterprise that is built to grow over the long term. Turning to Slide 5. You can see this clearly in our earnings trajectory. Not only did EBITDA reached the highest third quarter level in Dow's history, but year-to-date earnings of nearly $7 billion were also a record. Growth may not be in a straight line as we've been saying for some time. In fact, we know the macroeconomic environment will continue to be jagged as we are seeing right now.

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