Dow Chemical Posts $1.55 Billion Loss

First loss in 6 years

In the last quarter of 2008, Dow Chemical reported a $1.55 billion loss on plunging sales amid a sharp global economic slowdown.

The Midland, Mich.-based company's first loss in six years came as sales dropped 23% from the same period in 2007 to $10.9 billion. The quarterly loss compares with a net income of $472 million in the corresponding period.

"As we enter 2009 we are assuming that the late 2008 demand levels will continue for several quarters and possibly beyond," Andrew Liveris, Dow's chief executive, said. The company, which has scaled down production, is "planning for a global recession throughout 2009," he said.

The company loss in the final quarter of last year stemmed partly from restructuring activities costing $978 million, the impact of damage caused by hurricanes and expenses linked to a proposed acquisition of rival Rohm & Haas.

Dow could not meet a January 27 deadline for the $18.8 billion takeover of Rohm & Haas, citing "unacceptable uncertainties" on financing after a Kuwaiti partner scrapped a joint venture. The deal would have created the world's leading specialty chemicals and materials company.

Despite the sales decline in the fourth quarter, Dow said its 2008 sales increased seven percent from the previous year to a record $57.5 billion. The company made a net income of $579 million last year compared with $2.9 billion in 2007.

Liveris said that the company would continue with "a full array of aggressive cash generation and cost and capital control measures" throughout 2009.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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