DowDuPont Inc. posted impressive growth numbers in its first — and only — year as a combined company.
The plastics and chemicals giant based in Midland, Mich., and Wilmington, Del., reported 2018 sales of a little less than $86 billion and profit of just less than $4 billion. The sales total was up almost 8 percent over pro forma totals for 2017, which included several businesses that were divested. The profit amount was more than double that of 2017.
Dow and DuPont merged in early 2017, but will split once again in early April, with a third company — Corteva — splitting off from DuPont in early June.
"We are excited about launching these three global companies, each set to be an industry leader with the right capital structure and now better positioned to serve customers, compete in their end markets and focus on their innovation priorities," DowDuPont CEO Ed Breen said in a Jan. 31 news release.
In 2018, DowDuPont's Packaging & Specialty Plastics unit — including a major polyethylene resin business — had sales of almost $24.1 billion, up almost 8 percent vs. 2017. That unit's sales volume in pounds was up 5 percent vs. 2017.
Dow DuPont's Transportation & Advanced Polymers unit, including a major nylon resin business, posted 2018 sales of $5.6 billion, up 9.5 percent compared to 2017. Its sales volume in pounds grew 2 percent for the year.
Pretax operating profit for P&SP was up almost 5 percent in 2018 to $4.9 billion. T&AP grew almost 3 percent to $1.7 billion in that category.
Based on sales, P&SP was the largest of DowDuPont's eight operating units in 2018 with a 28 percent share of the sales total. T&AP ranked sixth with a 6.5 percent share. The U.S. and Canada represented DowDuPont's largest sales region in 2018, bringing in almost 38 percent of all sales.
Looking ahead, company officials expect global economic expansion "to continue in 2019 at a moderately slower pace than 2018," according to Chief Financial Officer Howard Ungerleider.
"We continue to closely monitor macroeconomic and geopolitical developments, including ongoing trade negotiations and the pace of economic activity in China," he said. "In this environment, we remain focused on the actions in our control, including capitalizing on our growth investments, capturing cost synergy savings, delivering productivity actions and advancing our spin milestones."
Wall Street had a negative reaction to DowDuPont's fourth-quarter and full-year results, sending the firm's per-share stock price down almost 10 percent to $54 on Jan. 31. The price was at $53.80 in early trading Feb. 1.
Like many materials firms, DowDuPont had a challenging year on Wall Street during 2018. Its per-share stock price began the year near $76 but closed near $54 for a decline of almost 30 percent.