Dow Chemical Co.'s plastics-related businesses are showing strong sales growth as the firm readies for its merger with DuPont Co.
Midland, Mich.-based Dow's Performance Plastics unit — including polyethylene — saw first-half sales grow 14 percent to $10.1 billion vs. the year-ago period, the firm reported July 27. Six-month sales at Dow's Performance Materials & Chemicals unit — including polyurethane — jumped almost 13 percent to just over $5 billion.
Pretax profit for Performance Plastics fell 2 percent in the first half to just under $2.2 billion. Performance Materials & Chemicals swung from a six-month pretax loss of almost $600 million in 2016 to a pretax gain of almost $800 million this year.
Based on sales, Performance Plastics was the largest of Dow's five operating units in the first half, generating more than 37 percent of the firm's total. Dow's total sales for the half were up more than 19 percent to almost $27.1 billion.
Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said in a news release that the second quarter "extended Dow's track record of execution."
"We have now achieved nearly five years — 19 consecutive quarters — of year-over-year operating earnings growth and nearly 4 years — 15 consecutive quarters — of volume growth," he added. "This also marked our third consecutive quarter of delivering an all-time operating EBITDA record."
Liveris also said that Dow "ended the quarter on the cusp of delivering the most comprehensive slate of growth investments in our industry — across the U.S. Gulf Coast, at our Sadara joint venture and through the ongoing integration of our silicones platform" and that the firm "made significant advancements toward our historic merger with DuPont."
Dow in June completed construction of a new unit with annual production capacity of almost 900 million pounds of Elite-brand enhanced PE in Freeport, Texas. The merger with Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont — another global plastics and chemicals giant — is expected to be complete in August.
On Wall Street, Dow's per-share stock price began the year around $57.60 but closed at $66.10 on July 27 for an increase of almost 15 percent so far in 2017.