Dow Chemical first quarter profit drops 30 pct

The Dow Chemical Co. says first quarter earnings fell 50 percent after it took a pre-tax charge of $357 million to close some of its plants.

The nation’s largest chemical maker reported income of $412 million, or 35 cents per share, from January to March. That compares with $625 million, or 54 cents per share, for the same part of 2011.

Excluding restructuring costs related to the plant closures and other special items, Dow said it earned 61 cents per share. Revenue was flat at $14.7 billion.

Analysts, who typically exclude special items, expected earnings of 59 cents per share and revenue of $14.96 billion, according to FactSet.

Dow, based in Midland, Mich., said it is closing plants in the U.S., Europe and Brazil in response to weak European demand.