Earnings show Dow is built to handle volatility: CEO

Dow Chemical CEO: We're built to handle volatility

Dow Chemical reported its 10th consecutive quarter of profit growth, showing the company is built to overcome roiling markets, Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said Thursday.

"We've strung together a portfolio now that can handle volatility," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "Having 10 straight quarters of earnings growth—that really speaks to the portfolio, both geographic diversification and market diversification."

He spoke after Dow reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher margins in five of its six units.

The company's shares moved higher in premarket trading. (See what the stock is doing now.)

Read More Procter & Gamble's sales fall for fifth straight quarter

Operating EBITDA margins rose 3 percent to their highest level since 2005, as Dow's shift in focus to high-margin businesses from volatile commodity businesses paid off.

However, a strong dollar and weak oil prices weighed on sales, which fell nearly 15 percent to $12.37 billion, missing analyst estimates of $13.04 billion.

Dow Chemical CEO: Our portfolio suits 'new China'

Liveris took issue with several analyst reports that said Dow would have a tougher time improving margins in the future as it loses its advantage over other players due to a narrowing of the spread between crude oil and natural gas prices. He said these analysts were writing about "the old Dow."

"They can't get off this notion that it's all about oil and gas," he said. "Yes, we have low-cost inputs. We're very proud of that, but we have value-add outputs. Three-quarters of the portfolio now is in value-add outputs, where oil price and gas price doesn't actually matter."

"If oil goes up, or oil goes down, we've kind of become immunized to it," he added.

Dow does not mind low oil prices or high oil prices, Liveris said. He noted that widening spreads for commodities Dow uses in its chemicals such as ethane and propane are more important factors.

Some analysts have said Dow has not done enough to diversify away from its exposure to volatile commodities.

Dow's net income available to shareholders rose to $1.39 billion, or $1.18 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $964 million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier.

Operating profit was 84 cents per share, above the analysts' average estimate of 76 cents.

Up to Wednesday's close of $50.02 on the New York Stock Exchange, Dow's shares had risen 2.2 percent in the last 12 months.

Rival DuPont reported lower-than-expected sales on Tuesday and said it expects full-year operating earnings to be at the low end of its forecast due to a strong dollar.

—Reuters contributed to this story.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Morning Squawk

CNBC's before the bell news roundup
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services.
By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.