Wow, Dow!! What a Performance!


Remember when I told you about how impressiveDow Chemical's (NYS: DOW) performance and growth plans are looking? Well, the $32 billion company has given us another reason to cheer as it rocked the Street with astounding third-quarter numbers.

What exactly is working for the largest chemical maker, and what makes it such a great company? I'll tell you...

What is Dow sharing with DuPont?
Interestingly, the last quarterly numbers from chemical giants Dow and DuPont (NYS: DD) have brought out some points that mirror each other.

Like DuPont, Dow's volumes remained flat year-on-year, with higher prices playing the biggest role in driving up its revenues. Two factors -- emerging markets and high selling prices -- have resulted in the flattering revenue growth for both companies.

Soaring sales in the emerging markets, especially Latin America and Asia-Pacific, helped offset weakening volumes in the U.S. and Europe. This trend was visible even in DuPont's numbers. Thus, broad segment and geographic-based high prices pushed up Dow's revenues by 17% from the year-ago quarter to $15.1 billion.

This isn't surprising, though, given how diligently the passing-the-buck game is being played out in the chemical industry. Some hikes came into effect this month, like those of Dow and Kronos Worldwide (NYS: KRO) , while DuPont and Huntsman (NYS: HUN) have more in line to be effective next month.

The robust top-line growth, paired with a couple of one-time charges, helped Dow post an astounding 51% jump in its bottom line to $903 million.

There's no stopping this company
Think of a company that is growing bigger and bigger; the first name that comes to my mind is Dow. What's impressive is the way it focuses on every segment when it comes to making intelligent investments.

Dow's performance materials segment has been the winner in innovation, having introduced more than 50 new products this year. Agriculture is also proving to be a strong point for Dow. Its agricultural sciences segment reported record third-quarter sales of $1.2 billion and the company is set to launch four new solutions for farmers in 2012. Dow is also launching a new LED technologies business segment.

I can't forget to mention the revolutionary solar roofing shingles Dow has recently launched in collaboration with homebuilder D.R. Horton (NYS: DHI) . Dow is building full-scale manufacturing capabilities for these shingles. This, along with Dow's photovoltaic films, which can generate more power for solar panels, signals tremendous opportunities for Dow.

Dow's recent bet on bioplastics is an interesting move, too. But probably the biggest feather that Dow has added to its cap recently is its joint venture with a Saudi Arabian oil company. Aimed at building one of the world's largest chemical facilities, the venture will target markets such as China and Africa. Dow is expanding into these two regions in a big way.

So now you know why I term Dow one of the biggest and fastest-growing companies.

The Foolish bottom line
The benefit from high product prices is here to stay, and the diversity of Dow's business bowls me over. My previous article gave an idea of Dow's great operational performance and debt-reduction initiatives. Its bumper third quarter has only strengthened my belief in the company.

The best and easiest way to keep track of Dow's progress is by adding it to your watchlist, our free and personalized stock-tracking service. Click here to add Dow Chemical to your stock watchlist.

At the time thisarticle was published Neha Chamaria does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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