updated 7/24/2008 12:36:06 PM ET 2008-07-24T16:36:06

Dow Chemical Co. said Thursday that despite record sales and two double-digit price increases unveiled in the second quarter, its profit for the period fell 27 percent, in large part because of sharply higher costs for energy and raw materials.

The world’s second-largest chemical company said its net income for the three-month period ended June 30 was $762 million, or 81 cents per share, compared with $1.04 billion, or $1.07 per share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 23 percent to a company record $16.38 billion.

Analysts expected Dow to report earnings of 85 cents per share on sales of $14.9 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

Dow also said it expects the U.S. economy to weaken for the rest of the year while the outlook for the global economy remains uncertain.

The decision to transform Dow into a more global and diverse company through acquisitions and joint ventures has allowed it to fare better during times of weaker U.S. demand, executives said during a teleconference with industry analysts.

Dow announced in December that it was entering into an $11 billion joint venture with Petrochemical Industries Co. of Kuwait and earlier this month that it was acquiring rival chemical company Rohm and Haas Co. for more than $15 billion.

“Through bolt-on acquisitions, increased R&D spending and more marketing of sales resources, our performance portfolio is delivering the growth we need to transform the company,” said Geoffery E. Merszei, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The company’s costs for energy and raw materials surged 42 percent, or $2.4 billion, when compared with the second quarter of 2007, the largest year-over-year increase in its history, he said.

Dow spent $1 billion more on oil-related costs in the second quarter than in the first three months of the year, the company said.

Dow announced last month that it was raising the prices of its products by as much as 25 percent in July after implementing across-the-board price increases of up to 20 percent on June 1.

Increasing prices helped to offset its higher costs but did not cover them, the Midland-based company said.

In its performance plastics segment, second-quarter sales of $4.4 billion represented an 18 percent increase over the same period last year. Sales of performance chemicals were $2.5 billion for the quarter, a gain of 20 percent.

The agricultural sciences segment posted record sales of $1.4 billion, up 25 percent, while basic plastics sales rose 19 percent to $3.8 billion and basic chemicals increased 13 percent to $1.6 billion.

Dow makes everything from the propylene glycols used in antifreeze, coolants, solvents, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, to acrylic acid-based products used in detergents, wastewater-treatment and disposable diapers.

With annual sales of $54 billion and 46,000 employees worldwide, its products are sold in 160 countries.

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