UPDATE 2-Dow Chemical's margins hit decade high on pre-merger cost-cutting
* 1st-qtr operating profit $0.89 vs est. $0.83
* Net sales fall 13.5 pct to $10.70 bln vs. est $10.66 bln
* Operating margin rises 164 basis points to 21.1 pct
* Shares up 0.6 pct premarket (Adds CFO comments)
By Amrutha Gayathri and Swetha Gopinath
April 28 (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co, the No. 1 U.S. chemical maker by sales, reported a higher-than-expected adjusted profit as cost cutting ratcheted up margins to their highest in more than a decade.
Dow has been clearing the decks ahead of its $130 billion merger with traditional rival DuPont by slashing administration costs and laying off employees.
The deal, due to close later this year, is the first step toward breaking the businesses into three separate companies focused on agriculture, material science and specialty products.
The merger is expected to create cost synergies of about $3 billion, the companies have said. Continued...