Dow Inc. to Pare Workforce Costs 6%, Take Charges

Storied materials-science company Dow Inc.  (DOW) – Get Report said that it would restructure, cutting “workforce costs” 6% and taking $500 million to $600 million of third-quarter charges for the effort.

It didn’t specify the amount of any layoffs.

The restructuring stems from the coronavirus pandemic, which has curbed demand for Dow products, the company said.

Besides the 6% cost cut, the revamp includes “[rationalizing] certain manufacturing assets,” the Midland, Mich., company said in a statement. 

“These actions are expected to result in total annualized [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] savings of more than $300 million by the end of 2021.”

The industrial intermediates-and-infrastructure segment will shut certain amines and solvents facilities in the U.S. and Europe, as well as select small-scale downstream polyurethanes manufacturing facilities. 

The performance-materials-and-coatings unit will shutter manufacturing assets, primarily small-scale coatings reactors.

“Given the expected gradual and uneven global economic recovery from covid-19, we announced in July that we are taking necessary actions to continue to optimize our asset footprint, reduce structural costs and enhance the competitiveness of our business over the long-term,” Dow Chief Executive Jim Fitterling said in the statement.

“We continue to stay focused on delivering strong cash flow, strengthening our financial profile and maximizing our operational advantages.”

The charges reflect severance and benefit costs; costs tied to exit and disposal activities; and asset write-downs and write-offs, Dow said.

Dow said it remained on track to achieve its target of $1.25 billion of capital expenditures in 2020, down from $2 billion in 2019.

The company also said on Wednesday that it would close the sale of its rail-infrastructure assets at six North American sites to Watco, three months earlier than planned. The sale proceeds exceed $310 million. Watco is the Pittsburg, Kan., transportation-services provider.

Earlier this month Dow also said it planned to shed certain marine and terminal operations and assets to Vopak Industrial Infrastructure Americas for $620 million cash. That deal is expected to close this year.

Dow recently traded at $46.81, up 0.5%. The shares slipped 15% year to date through Tuesday. They have doubled off their 52-week low around $22, set in mid-March.

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