DOW Chemical Earnings Cheat Sheet: Another Quarter of Margin Expansion

Net income for S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE:DOW) rose in the first quarter. The Dow Chemical Company produces chemicals, plastic materials, agricultural, advanced materials and other products and services, including insurance.

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Dow Chemical Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Net income for the chemicals company rose to $710 million (54 cents/share) vs. $551 million (41 cents/share) in the same quarter a year earlier. A rise of 28.9% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 9.8% to $14.73 billion YoY.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: DOW reported adjusted net income of 82 cents/share. By this measure, the company beat the mean analyst estimate of 66 cents/share. Estimates ranged from 55 cents per share to 76 cents per share.

Quoting Management: Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer, stated: “This quarter’s performance showed once again that we remain firmly on our earnings growth trajectory. Our focus on execution was clear as we drove significant sales increases across all geographies and all operating segments through rigorous price and volume discipline. As a result, we achieved yet another quarter of margin expansion and delivered EBITDA growth of more than 30 percent. “With our transformed business portfolio and broad geographic presence, we have now achieved eight consecutive quarters of margin growth. This marked the second best quarterly EBITDA in our Company’s history. We also further enhanced our financial flexibility by paying down $2.5 billion in debt, which will reduce our interest expense and be immediately accretive. And our recently announced dividend increase is yet another proof point of how we are delivering increasing value for shareholders. “We also advanced our innovation pipeline, bringing to market technologies that answer the needs of a changing global economy. Our whole focus at Dow is on execution to deliver profitable, sustainable growth, and this quarter’s performance shows we remain right on strategy.”

Key Stats: Last quarter marked the fifth consecutive quarter of gross margins expanding as the company’s gross margin expanded 3.8 percentage points to 17.8% from the year earlier quarter. Over that span, margins have grown on average 2.4 percentage points per quarter on a year-over-year basis.

Over the last five quarters, revenue has increased 19% on average year over year. The biggest increase came in the first quarter of the last fiscal year, when revenue rose 47.7% from the year earlier quarter.

Competitors to Watch: E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (NYSE:DD), Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN), Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN), PolyOne Corporation (NYSE:POL), FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC), Westlake Chemical Corp. (NYSE:WLK), Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ROC), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB), Solutia Inc. (NYSE:SOA), and Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH).

Today’s Performance: Shares of DOW are trading at $39.92 as of April 28, 2011 at 8:03 AM ET, unchanged from the previous close.

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