Chemicals

DowDuPont profit slumps 28%, hit by lower chemical demand

Key Points
  • DowDuPont reported a 28% fall in adjusted quarterly profit on Thursday.
  • Floods in the U.S. Midwest and a sluggish growth in auto and smartphone markets hit prices of its specialty and agricultural chemicals, as well as volumes in North America.
DuPont products are shown for sale in a hardware store in National City, California, December 9, 2015.
Mike Blake | Reuters

DowDuPont reported a 28% fall in adjusted quarterly profit on Thursday, as floods in the U.S. Midwest and a sluggish growth in auto and smartphone markets hit prices of its specialty and agricultural chemicals, as well as volumes in North America.

The company, formed by the $130 billion merger of chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont in 2017, is in the process of splitting into three separate business units — Dow, DuPont, and Corteva Agriscience.

Dow Inc, the unit that makes chemicals used in brake fluids and packaging materials, was spun off on April 1 and posted a 24% drop in core earnings from operations, hurt by lower chemical prices.

DowDuPont's agricultural seeds and chemicals business, Corteva, is set to be spun off on June 1.

As a combined company, DowDuPont's adjusted net income fell to $1.89 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, from $2.63 billion a year earlier.

On a per share basis, it earned 84 cents, in line with analysts' estimates, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales at DowDuPont dropped 9% to $19.65 billion, while sales at Dow fell 10% to $10.77 billion.

DowDuPont had said in March the floods have limited its ability to deliver products to customers, while delaying pre-season applications.

Record floods devastated a wide swath of the farm belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and several other states, idling ethanol plants, slowing rail shipments of agricultural products and swamping storage bins holding grain from previous harvests.

Dow said it expects to take a hit in the second quarter, mainly from seasonal planned turnaround and maintenance activity. However, it anticipates pricing to start rising sequentially.

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