Dow Chemical income rises 33 percent

Dow Chemical Co. said Thursday its first-quarter net income rose 33 percent, beating Wall Street predictions.

The company said it continues to focus on boosting profitability by cutting costs and paying down debt as it deals with tough market conditions.

After the payment of preferred dividends, the Midland, Mich.-based company earned $550 million, or 46 cents per share, up from $412 million, or 35 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding restructuring, debt and other one-time charges, Dow said it posted an adjusted profit of 69 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet, on average, expected earnings of 61 cents per share.

Revenue fell 2 percent to $14.38 billion from $14.72 billion. Agricultural sciences sales increased 14 percent to $2.1 billion, but feedstocks and energy sales fell 13 percent to $2.6 billion, largely as a result of lower European demand.

Analysts expected $14.84 billion in revenue.

Dow said sales volumes fell 3 percent during the quarter, with European volumes dropping 12 percent and North American volumes flat. Volumes in emerging markets increased 2 percent, led by a 6 percent increase in Latin American volumes. Overall prices rose 1 percent.

The company added that it worked to reduce debt during the quarter and cut its interest expense by 10 percent to $296 million.