First-quarter financial results are starting to come in from chemical makers, with Dow announcing its earnings and a few major German firms releasing preliminary figures. The companies are posting large increases in sales from a year earlier, but all have been laboring to maintain profitability in the wake of escalating energy and feedstock costs.Dow posted a 28% sales increase in the quarter versus the quarter a year earlier. Selling prices also increased 28%, while volumes climbed a more modest 3%. Net income, excluding unusual items, rose 70%.But profits at Dow’s largest business, packaging and specialty plastics, remained flat versus the year-earlier quarter, and the business’s before-tax profit margin fell from 20% to 16% as a consequence of rising energy costs. Profitability expanded in Dow’s intermediates and coating materials segments because of strong demand and higher selling prices.
It'll be interesting to see if these good results continue through the year, especially as the continuing supply chain crises (both Chinese and Ukraine/Russia!) continue.