February 1, 2018 / 11:04 AM / 19 days ago

DowDuPont upbeat on growth as sales rise 14 percent

Feb 1 (Reuters) - U.S. chemicals producer DowDuPont reported a 14 percent rise in net sales for the fourth quarter as a strong global economy led to robust demand and higher prices for its products.

The newly-combined company, formed by the merger of chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont four months ago, said its net sales came in at $20.1 billion versus comparable net sales - which the company terms “proforma” sales - of $17.7 billion a year earlier.

The chemicals giant saw prices rise by about 5 percent across markets, while volumes - a proxy for demand - rose 6 percent.

“In developed economies in particular, such as the United States, Germany, France, Canada and the U.K., we continue to see strong leading indicators of broad-based growth,” executive chairman Andrew Liveris said in the results statement.

“Furthermore, early signs from the business community point to U.S. tax reform as a catalyst for further domestic capital investments.”

Currently trading at a market value of about $176.9 billion, Dow and DuPont completed the $130 billion mega merger in September. That created the world’s largest chemical maker, until the company goes through with a plan to split into three companies - expected within about 14 to 16 months.

The merger was welcomed by investors as a way to streamline the companies’ sprawling operations by combining overlapping businesses.

DowDuPont said on Thursday it was now planning to save $3.3 billion in costs on the back of the merger - slightly more than the $3 billion it expected to save earlier.

For the reported quarter DowDuPont saw a $1.1 billion benefit from lower U.S corporate taxes, but still posted a net loss of $1.2 billion from continuing operations - substantially the result of merger-related costs.

Adjusted for those and other one time effects, the company earned 83 cents on a share. Ahead of the numbers Wall Street was expecting it to make 67 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S numbers. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee; editing by Patrick Graham)

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