It was just two years ago that Dow Chemical's
In 2008, Dow and Kuwait Petroleum announced the formation of a $17.4 billion venture dubbed K-Dow Petrochemical. Because Dow was to contribute 15 production facilities to the venture, the company was to be compensated to the tune of $9 billion. That amount would have gone toward paying for Dow's previously agreed-upon acquisition of Rohm & Haas, a maker of coatings and electrical materials, with a price tag in excess of $15 billion.
But, when commodities prices slid and the world's economy softened, the Kuwaitis pulled out of the deal. Dow, however, was able to complete the Rohm acquisition by cobbling together public offerings, bank borrowings, and preferred-stock lending. From there, it was able to make strides in cleaning up its temporarily over-weighted balance sheet through a string of non-strategic asset sales.
Today, Dow has become amazingly strong once again. In its most recent quarterly announcement it checked in with a 23% hike in revenues, and the adjusted $0.54 per share it earned topped the prior year by $0.30 and beat analysts' expectations by $0.13. For the current quarter, the seers are expecting about a doubling of year-on-year earnings.
Dow also appears to be benefiting from Saudi Arabia's desire to expand downstream, rather than simply selling its crude overseas. For instance, Saudi Aramco and France's Total
Aramco and Dow are also designing a possible new $20 billion venture and expansion at the country's Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical unit. That project, called Petro Rabigh, is jointly owned by Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical Co. It should be approved or nixed by July. Aramco is also in the market for partners at a refinery and chemical facility in the Red Sea city of Yanbu, a project that ConocoPhillips
Separately, Dow has just begun work on a facility that will manufacture printed circuit boards, electronic and industrial finishing, and photovoltaic materials in Zhangjiagang, China, about 98 kilometers from Shanghai. In a completely different effort, Dow AgroSciences, along with units of Monsanto
With its increasing successes and bevy of global activities, it should be hard to keep Dow out of your portfolio.
We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.