The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) Q3 2016 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Oct 27, 2016 • 09:00 am ET
Good day and welcome to The Dow Chemical Company's Third Quarter 2016 Earnings Results Conference Call. (Operator Instructions). Also, today's call is being recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Neal Sheorey. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you. Good morning and welcome to The Dow Chemical Company's third quarter earnings conference call. I am Neal Sheorey, Vice President of Investor Relations. As usual, we are making this call available to investors and the media via webcast. This call is the property of The Dow Chemical Company. Any redistribution, retransmission or rebroadcast of this call in any form without Dow's expressed written consent is strictly prohibited.
On the call with me today are Andrew Liveris, Dow's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Howard Ungerleider, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer; and Jim Fitterling, President and Chief Operating Officer. We have prepared slides to supplement our comments in this conference call. These slides are posted on our Investor Relations Financial Reporting page. You can also access the slides through the link to our webcast.
(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements). Unless otherwise specified, all comparisons presented today will be on a year-over-year basis. Sales comparisons exclude divestitures and acquisitions. EBITDA, EBITDA margin, return on capital and earnings comparisons exclude certain items.
Some of our comments may also contain statements about our announced agreement to complete a merger of equals with DuPont, and the intention to subsequently spin into three independent publicly-traded companies. In connection with this intended transaction, Dow and DuPont have filed and will file materials with the SEC that contain important information. We advise you to read them. These filings are available free of charge from the SEC or Dow or DuPont as applicable.
I will now turn the call over to Andrew.
Andrew N. Liveris
Thank you, Neal. And, if everyone could turn to slide three -- good morning to everyone. The Dow team continues to deliver against every one of our goals for the year, building on our consistent track record of execution.
Let us start with the financial highlights. We achieved record third quarter EBITDA and our highest third quarter EPS in a decade. This quarter marks four full years, 16 consecutive quarters of earnings growth and margin expansion. In addition, we returned more than $900 million of cash to our owners through stock buybacks and dividends.
Operationally, we continue to meet consumer-led demand for Dow products and solutions, driving volume gains in all geographies. We have now consistently grown volume over three years, 12 consecutive quarters, despite a slow growth macro environment. We also delivered another quarter of productivity and cost savings, bringing the year-to-date contribution to $254 million, on track to exceed our 2016 target.
On our strategic projects, we accelerated the Dow Corning integration moving quickly on our cost synergies, as we said we would. Our Sadara joint venture celebrated the startup of its multi-feed cracker and a third polyethylene train. And our next wave of U.S. Gulf Coast projects is on the cusp of delivering bottom-line