A lot of investors are betting the Dow Chemical’s (DOW) best years are behind it. Shares have dropped from a 52-week high of $43.43 to $19. The stock now trades where it did in 1993.
Dow has cut nearly 11% of its workforce to cut costs. But, that does not solve many of the firm’s cost problems.Rising hydrocarbon prices is still probably the largest threat to the firm’s margins.
Dow faces new risks because it has costs to cover its purchase of Rohm and Haas. Dow has been counting on a deal with with Kuwait to cut some of its exposure to commodities prices. It might also have given Dow access to petroleum at favorable prices.
According to Bloomberg, that Kuwait deal is off, and much of the near-term future of Dow is now going to be extremely troubled. "Scrapping the Dow venture with Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Co. may leave the U.S. company short of cash it planned to spend on the $15.4 billion acquisition of Rohm & Haas Co," the news service said.
The breakdown in the deal could hurt Dow’s credit rating and sharply undermine gross margins.
Look for Dow to drop below $15 this week, and it may not recover for months.
Douglas A. McIntyre