MIDLAND, Mich.—Dow Chemical Co. reported a slight sales increase of 1 to 2 percent to $13.7 billion during the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year.
The figure was down on that for the second quarter of 2013, when the company reported sales of $14.6 billion. William Weideman, executive vice president, investors officer and CFO, said that while the business had driven "aggressive price actions, their full benefit … was offset by higher and volatile raw materials costs."
He said emerging geographies—Latin America, China, India, Russia—"where both price and volume increases drove revenue gains of 5 percent," boosted the company's bottom line. In Latin America, volume increased by 5 percent while the increase was 3 percent in Asia Pacific, he said.
Year-on-year sales in the coatings and infrastructure solutions segment were up 6 percent and EBITDA and EBITDA margins increased 15 percent.
In the Dow coating materials segment, architectural coatings saw strong sales during the latest quarter, Weideman added.
Performance materials sales dropped a 3 percent compared the third quarter of 2012 and, while automotive sales did see a volume gain, it was not enough to offset declines elsewhere in the business.
Weideman said he expected the fourth quarter would yield its usual seasonal slowdown.
Outlining the company's stance on polyurethanes, Andrew Liveris, president, chairman and CEO, said the company's cost-cutting strategy, including several closures in the past year, would yield an additional $100 million to the bottom line.
Glenn Wright, Dow's business president, polyurethanes, systems said the company expects the automotive industry to continue to strengthen into 2014, with the trend toward light vehicles as "part of an energy efficiency strategy presenting more opportunities for polyurethanes technologies to replace incumbent materials."
"The positives for the year were that we continued to see polyurethanes as a key enabling technology that grows at greater than GDP and is used in a wide variety of end-markets from consumer comfort, energy efficiency and industrial end-use applications," he said.
He said energy efficiency would continue to drive opportunities for rigid polyurethane foams across many markets next year as the rebound in construction markets gains traction. He said the industry could also expect continued growth in the coatings and adhesives arenas.