Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemicals maker, on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter profit versus a year-ago loss, helped by higher sales and a big tax gain.
The Midland, Michigan-based company posted net income of $929 million, or 99 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $809 million, or 89 cents per share, a year ago.
The latest quarterly figures included a benefit from foreign tax credits and operating loss carryforwards of $454 million, or 49 cents per share.
Revenue rose 20 percent to $8.3 billion from the year-ago period, offsetting a 15-percent jump in raw material and energy costs.
"Dow's results benefited from a strengthening global economy and, more importantly, from Dow's focus on price/volume management and productivity improvements," said William Stavropoulos, Dow's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Looking ahead, the company expects strong global economic growth to fuel chemical demand this year. Dow's positive outlook echoed that of rival DuPont, which earlier this week said a global economic recovery was under way.
Analysts have said the worse may be over for U.S. chemical producers, which have been stuck in a long-term slump caused by recession, surging natural gas costs and overseas competition.
Shares of Dow, a member of the S&P 500, closed up 52 cents, or 1 percent, at $41.10, in Wednesday trade on the New York Stock Exchange. During the fourth quarter, they climbed 25 percent, outperforming peers on the Standard & Poor's Chemicals index, which rose 18 percent.