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Dow’s new Freeport cracker more than 90% complete; swings to 4Q loss

HOUSTON, January 26, 2017 (PCW) --- Dow on Thursday said construction of its new 3.3 billion lbs/yr Freeport ethylene unit is more than 90% complete.

Company executives noted that during the quarter, Dow completed expansion activities at its Seadrift polyethylene facility (total PE capacity: 1.8 billion lbs/yr) in December as well as a 600 million lbs/yr expansion at the Plaquemine LA-3 cracker.

The company said the LA-3 expansion has increased the plant’s ability to crack ethane, while maintaining the flexibility to rapidly switch to propane when economically viable. LA-3’s ethane cracking capacity is now above 80%, executives said, making it the most flexible unit in the Dow fleet. The plant also retains the ability to crack butane and naphtha.

Dow on Thursday also reported a 4Q net loss of $33 million, compared to the $3.527 billion net income seen in 4Q 2015. The company attributed the decline to “a voluntary change in accounting policy for asbestos-related matters and charges for legacy environmental remediation activities.”

Specifically, Dow’s Performance Materials & Chemicals reported 4Q sales of $2.41 billion, up from $2.38 billion in the year-ago period. Volume increased 3% due to robust growth in Asia Pacific.

The Performance Plastics sector saw 4Q sales of $4.8 billion, up from $4.6 billion in the year-ago period, with gains in all businesses except for Dow Electrical and Telecommunications. The increase was due to double-digit demand growth in Asia Pacific and EMEAI in the automotive and footwear end-markets. -- Samantha Hartke

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