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Dow Personal Care, a unit of The Dow Chemical Company (DOW - Analyst Report), has entered into a distribution agreement with Nexeo Solutions, a global distributor of chemicals, plastics, composites and environmental services. Nexeo will operate as a key distribution partner of Dow Personal Care in the U.S.

Dow Personal Care’s partnership with Nexeo Solutions builds upon the latter’s long-standing relationship with Dow Chemical in other markets across North America.

Pursuant to the deal, Nexeo Solutions will promote and market various Dow Personal Care product lines in the U.S. These include Acudyne Hair Styling Polymers, Aculyn and Cellosize Rheology Modifiers, EcoSense APG Surfactants, EcoSmooth Anionic Conditioning Polymers, EPITEX 66 Rub-Off Resistant Polymer, Kytamer and MoistStar HA+ Moisturizing Agents and Methocel Rheology Modifiers

Few days ago, Dow Water & Process Solutions, another business unit of Dow Chemical, launched DOW FILMTEC Reverse Osmosis (RO) 75 and 100 gallon per day (GPD) home drinking water membranes at the Water Quality Association (WQA) Aquatech USA 2013 conference and exhibition.

The FILMTEC RO will help in reducing impurities such as calcium, magnesium, and iron and remove contaminants that are risky for health. Dow Chemical’s FILMTEC RO delivers water with better taste and smell.

Dow Chemical posted a bigger loss in fourth-quarter 2012 due to a sizable restructuring charge and loss on goodwill impairment in its Formulated Systems business. Weakness across end markets, especially in China, and weak pricing also hurt the results.

Dow Chemical will continue to pursue its cost reduction and efficiency programs while maximizing shareholder returns. Dow Chemical targets aggregate cost savings of $2.5 billion with $1 billion expected this year. Dow Chemical also noted that it will focus on driving earnings, leveraging its feedstock strength and strong momentum in the agricultural sciences business.

Dow Chemical retains a short-term (1 to 3 months) Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the chemical industry that are worth considering include Akzo Nobel NV (AKZOY), Axiall Corporation (AXLL - Snapshot Report) and LyondellBasel Industries NV (LYB - Analyst Report). All of them carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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