Specialty chemical maker Rohm and Haas posted a 13% year-on-year decline in Q4 2008 sales clocking US$2,030 mln, led by accelerating market declines that impacted all businesses and regions except Salt. The company recorded US$32 mln ($0.17/share) earnings from continuing operations in the quarter, against US$180 mln ($0.91/share) in the same period last year. The Q4 2008 results include special items totaling $0.52/share comprising $0.08/share in costs associated with the proposed merger with The Dow Chemical Company announced in July; $0.03/share in costs resulting from the impact of hurricanes on the company's operations in the quarter; and $0.41/share in asset impairments and costs resulting from restructuring actions. Excluding this special items, adjusted EPS for the quarter stood at were $0.69 compared to $0.90 in the prior-year period. For company's Specialty Materials segment, net sales recorded US$974 mln, a 17% drop from the prior-year period, primarily due to decreased demand in all regions as well as unfavorable currencies, partially offset by prior pricing actions and the impact of acquisitions. The Performance Materials segment posted a 12% YOY decline in sales to US$284 mln reflecting decreased demand across all business lines except AgroFresh. Sales for the Electronic Materials segment were US$371 mln, down 23% over the same period in 2007, primarily reflecting a marked deceleration in demand for semiconductor and electronic devices.
For full-year 2008, the company's sales dropped 8% to US$9,575 mln over 2007 with earnings from continuing operations standing at $480 mln ($2.44/share). Adjusted EPS were $3.31 for full-year 2008, compared to $3.37 per share for full-year 2007. "As market conditions continue to weaken, we are implementing additional actions to navigate these difficult times, while remaining focused on positioning our businesses for success when markets recover," said Raj L. Gupta, chairman and chief executive officer of Rohm and Haas Company. Gupta added, "Our strong and balanced business platform generated cash flow in excess of $1 billion in 2008, and our solid balance sheet continues to provide Rohm and Haas with strength and stability, even during these challenging times."