Dow Corning Profit Surges as Demand Recovers

The company's joint venture Hemlock Semiconductor, which makes silicon-based products used in manufacturing of semiconductor devices and solar cells and modules, will add capacity in Q2.

Dow Corning Corp. reported a first-quarter profit of $218.3 million, more than 20 times its year-ago earnings as strong demand returned for nearly all of its silicone products.

The company -- a joint venture of Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Inc. that makes adhesives, emulsions, silicone and other chemicals for the automotive, cosmetics and other industries -- also said the earnings benefited from a one-time $45.7 million gain on advanced energy manufacturing tax credits.

The venture made only $9.4 million in the first quarter of last year when the recession held down demand.

Its revenue rose 31% to $1.35 billion from January through March, compared with $1.03 billion for the 2009 quarter.

Chief Financial Officer J. Donald Sheets said the company's silicone business is returning to pre-recession levels. "It is encouraging that we're seeing this recovery in demand in nearly every industry and geography we serve," he said. in a statement.

The venture's Hemlock Semiconductor operation continues to run at full capacity, the company said, and will add capacity in the second quarter. Hemlock makes silicon-based products used in manufacturing of semiconductor devices, and solar cells and modules.

"Both the solar and semiconductor industries indicated signs of growth in the first quarter," Sheets said.

The tax credits, he said, will help the company with manufacturing and research in solar energy.

Hemlock Semiconductor is a joint venture between Dow Corning Corp. and two Japanese companies, Shin-Etsu Handotai Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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