US industry gains from price hikes...

C&I Issue 15, 2008

US chemical major Dow, now back in the top slot following its acquisition of Rohm & Haas, reported H1 sales of $31.2bn, up from $25.7bn in H1 2007, with a 23% sales increase in Q2 and double-digit price increases being achieved in all operating segments and geographic regions. Net income, decreased, however, from $2bn in H1 2007 to $1.7bn in 2008. Volume grew by 5% in Q2 2008, with 12% growth outside north America including 11% in Europe.

 ‘The surge in oil prices from Q1 to Q2 added another $1bn of cost sequentially, and we reacted quickly by announcing two broad-based price increase initiatives, adjusting plant operating rates and implementing additional cost-cutting measures,’ said chairman and ceo Andrew Liveris. ‘We believe the US economy will continue to weaken for the rest of 2008, and that the outlook for the global economy will remain uncertain. Despite this, our results have demonstrated our strategy for diversification on a global and end-use market basis has allowed us to manage through these challenging times.’

 Huntsman saw H1 sales increase to $5.4bn, up from $4.7bn in 2007, on the back of a 17% Q2 sales increase, compared with 2007, and a 14% increase compared with Q1 2008. ‘I am very pleased with our results in Q2,’ said president and ceo Peter Huntsman. ‘Sales volumes were strong in all our divisions, with total volumes in our polyurethanes division up by 14%, in materials and effects up 7%, in performance products up 13%, and in pigments up 9%, all relative to Q1 2008.’

 Despite the US housing crisis, US coatings firm Sherwin-Williams saw sales increase 1.4% to a record $4bn in H1 2008, following record sales in Q2, also up by 1.4% to reach $2.23bn, compared with the same periods in 2007. Improved performance was recorded for the global business group. Seven acquisitions since Q2 2007 increased consolidated net sales by 2.4% in Q2 and 2.5% in H1 2008.

 Christopher Connor, chairman and ceo said: ‘We continue to manage through an unpredecedented downturn in the US housing market that is both deep and wide... During Q3 2008 we anticipate consolidated net sales will be slightly below last year’s Q3.’ For the full year, he expects sales will be slightly lower than in 2007.

 Dow Corning, however, saw its H1 net income decline by 3% to $348.1m, compared with the same period in 2007, despite a 10% sales increase to $2.66bn. ‘While our sales and income both grew in Q2, we continue to be significantly challenged by high raw materials and energy costs,’ said Donald Sheets, vp and chief financial officer. ‘We are encouraged by continued demand growth for our silicone-based products, especially in developing regions, such as China, Eastern Europe, India and South America.’

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