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The Dow Chemical Company reported a strong start in the first quarter of 2011, achieving a sales growth of 20% compared with the same period last year, and all operating segments and geographic areas reported double-digit sales increases, according to its financial result released on April 29.

At a company level, volume grew by 8%, with gains in all operating segments. Double-digit volume growth was reported in Health and Agricultural Sciences (14%) and Electronic and Specialty Materials (11%). On a geographic basis, volume growth was reported in all geographic areas, with the largest gains in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) (15%) and Asia Pacific (8%).

Price rose by 12% at a company level. Price gains were broad-based, with double-digit increases in all geographic areas. All operating segments reported double-digit price increases, with the exception of Electronic and Specialty Materials and Health and Agricultural Sciences (each up 3%). Price gains more than offset a US$700 million increase in purchased feedstock and energy costs.

At a company level, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose by US$622 million, or 34%, to US$2.4 billion. This represents the second highest quarterly EBITDA on record for the company. Performance Products and Chemicals and Energy each posted EBITDA increases in excess of 50%, and Coatings and Infrastructure EBITDA increased more than 30%. Health and Agricultural Sciences EBITDA reached a new quarterly record of US$406 million and Plastics EBITDA exceeded US$800 million.

At a company level, EBITDA margin expanded 300 basis points versus the same period last year. This represents the eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year margin expansion. Margins expanded in Chemicals and Energy and Plastics as the company benefited from the US Gulf Coast feedstock and energy fundamentals. Performance Products and Coatings and Infrastructure also drove margin gains in the quarter.

"This quarter's performance showed once again that we remain firmly on our earnings growth trajectory," said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Our focus on execution was clear as we drove significant sales increases across all geographies and all operating segments through rigorous price and volume discipline."
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