Dow Chemical to restructure business make-up

MIDLAND, Mich., Tue Sep 4, 2012 – Dow Chemical Co. said it will rejig its business structure and appoint four business presidents who will be accountable for the company’s operations.

The company said it will eliminate the current business division structure effective immediately, and move to a global business unit model that will have business presidents.

The business presidents, who will be named later this week, will report to a four-member executive committee that includes CEO Andrew Liveris and CFO Bill Weideman.

Shares of Dow Chemical closed at $29.31 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dow Chemical stockholders reject independent chair

NEW YORK, Thu May 10, 2012 – Dow Chemical Co. shareholders declined to split the roles of chairman and chief executive at their annual meeting on Thursday, opting to keep the reins of the largest U.S. chemical maker closely held.

The proposal to split the roles, which, if approved, would have gone into effect after current Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris retired, received only 36 percent of votes cast.

The recent trend among corporate governance experts to recommend splicing the two roles has produced results among large banks, including Bank of America and Citigroup, but industrial manufacturers, like DuPont  and General Electric mostly have kept their CEO and chair roles combined.

Dow shareholders also approved Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris’ $19.3 million compensation package for 2011, an employee stock purchase plan and an executive stock compensation plan.

Shareholders rejected a plan that would have let them vote by written consent – without meeting in person – on various proposals. That plan received only 39 percent of votes cast.

The compensation vote, required as part of 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act in the United States, was nonbinding.

Shares of Midland, Mich.-based Dow rose 20 cents to $32.33 in morning trading.

Dow Chemical profit beats predictions, but sales miss the mark

MIDLAND, Mich., Thu Apr 26, 2012 – Solid sales of herbicides and other agricultural products helped Dow Chemical Co.’s first-quarter profit beat Wall Street’s expectations, but lower-than-expected revenue pushed shares down more than 3 percent in premarket trading.

Dow’s chemicals and other products are used to make plastics, computers, clothing and many other consumer goods. The company’s results are often seen as a key barometer of global economic health.

The largest U.S. chemical maker by sales said the U.S. economy is improving, helped by shale-derived natural gas, and that China would continue to be an attractive growth market.

But parts of Europe remain in “recessionary conditions,” the company said on Thursday. Volume rose in Europe only because of a propylene supply agreement Dow has with Braskem SA for that continent after the Brazilian company bought Dow’s polypropylene business last year.

“We anticipate that global growth will gain momentum as we move through the second quarter and into the remainder of the year,” Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement on Wednesday.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company posted net income of $412 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with $625 million, or 54 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Ford, Dow to explore carbon fiber use in high-volume vehicles

DETROIT, Thu Apr 12, 2012 – Ford Motor Co. and Dow Chemical Co. will work to develop cost-effective ways of using carbon fiber in high-volume cars and trucks as the No.2 U.S. automaker moves to cut vehicle weight to improve overall fuel economy.

The joint venture with Dow Automotive Systems mean Ford could start using components made from advanced carbon fiber composites in its vehicle lineup before the end of this decade. Dow Automotive is a unit of Dow Chemical.

Weight reduction is one way for automakers to boost the efficiency of their fleets in anticipation of rising oil prices and stricter fuel economy standards for upcoming model years.

By 2020, Ford aims to cut between 250 pounds and 750 pounds from its new cars and trucks, partly by using lighter materials. Shedding that weight will reduce the strain on the vehicle’s engine, allowing it to wring out more miles per gallon.

Lighter materials can also help Ford improve the range of its electric and hybrid vehicles on a single charge.

“Reducing weight will benefit the efficiency of every Ford vehicle,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer. “However, it’s particularly critical to improving the range of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.”

The Obama administration said automakers would have to boost the average fuel efficiency of their cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year.

Dow Chemical profit, revenue miss Wall Street expectations

MIDLAND, Mich. – Dow Chemical Co’s. quarterly profit and revenue missed Wall Street’s expectations as demand for electronics, plastics and coatings plunged, causing the company to slash production and aggressively discount some products.

The results sent shares of Dow, the largest U.S. chemical maker by revenue, down 1 percent.

Dow’s operating rate, a reflection of its full capacity, fell 9 percentage points to 72 percent in the quarter, levels not seen since the last recession.

Most of the capacity cuts came in Europe, where the continent’s debt crisis has sharply affected exports and where demand for Dow’s products is weakest, CEO Andrew Liveris told Reuters.

“We quickly intervened and started moving volume and basically gave up on price,” he said on Thursday. “Europe is a headwind for the whole year.”

The U.S. economy is “actually recovering nicely,” with electronic sales improving from a weak fourth quarter, though weak construction demand is a concern, he said.

The Chinese economy should continue to be strong, bolstered by large spending on manufacturing and construction, Liveris said.

“I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about China being a less-than-6-percent growth economy for a long time,” he said.”

For the fourth quarter, the company posted a net loss of $20 million, or 2 cents per share, compared with net income of $426 million, or 37 cents per share, in the year-ago period.