Dow Corning increases net income as sales drop

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The company, parent of leading polysilicon producer Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation, posted a net income of $563 million on sales of $5.65 billion. Dow Corning’s fourth-quarter net income was $193 million on sales of $1.47 billion. The company attributed the 9% revenue decrease to the strong U.S. dollar.

While the company continued to increase sales volumes in its most profitable specialty silicones product lines in the high-performance building, packaging, electronics, and health and beauty care industries, revenue from its polysilicon segment continued to decrease along with customers purchasing product under long-term contracts, which resulted in fewer shipments.

Falling prices due to overcapacity and high import duties in China forced Hemlock to shutter a new polysilicon facility in Tennessee in 2014.

However, Dow Corning executive VP and CFO J. Donald Sheets said the company’s efforts to increase the profitability of its silicones business in 2015 enabled it to offset “the currency headwinds we faced as well as the continued volatility in our polysilicon business.”

The group continued to enhance the efficiency of its operations in 2015 while also continuing to invest in research and development and growth opportunities, Sheets added.

Dow Corning, currently a 50-50 joint venture between Dow Chemical Company and Corning Incorporated, is set to become a 100% subsidary of Dow, although the companies will maintain their current equity stakes in Hemlock.