DuPont profit doubles as drought boosts farm sales

WILMINGTON, Del., Tue Apr 23, 2013 — Chemicals maker DuPont’s quarterly profit more than doubled as the worst dry spell in decades encouraged U.S. farmers to buy its drought-hardy seeds and crop-protection products to boost yields.

Strong wheat, corn and soybean prices also spurred agricultural sales in the Americas, helping DuPont beat estimates for the quarter despite an ongoing decline in demand for its once-lucrative titanium dioxide paint pigment.

The company’s shares traded up 0.7 percent at $50.74 before the bell on Tuesday.

“The first quarter finished as expected, with the strong agriculture performance and performance chemicals’ decline from peak levels last year,” DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement.

The 210-year-old company, known for its chemicals business, is focusing on food and agriculture products that are less exposed to ebbs and flows in titanium dioxide (Ti02) sales.

The shift is evident in the $5 billion sale of its car paint unit last year and the $6 billion purchase of nutritional supplements maker Danisco in 2011.

“Ti02 has declined and it’s a much smaller factor now. We also think it is bottoming so it’s become less of an issue,” John Roberts, who leads U.S. chemical coverage at UBS Investment Research, said ahead of the announcement.

He had expected first-quarter earnings of $1.55 per share, above the Wall Street estimates of $1.52 per share. Excluding one-time items, DuPont earned $1.56 per share.

The company’s net income for the quarter, which included the beginning of the North American spring planting season, jumped to $3.35 billion, or $3.58 per share, in the first quarter, from $1.49 billion, or $1.58 per share, a year earlier.

DuPont to cut 1,500 jobs as economy worsens

WILMINGTON, Del., Tue Oct 23, 2012 – DuPont slashed its annual forecast, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and announced 1,500 job cuts on Tuesday, bleak signs that demand for the chemical company’s lucrative paint and solar products is slipping around the world.

Shares of DuPont, a member of the Dow Jones industrial average .DJIA, fell nearly 7 percent in premarket trading.

The job cuts by the company, which also makes Kevlar bulletproof fiber and Corian countertops, marks one of the more extreme reactions to slipping demand and global economic uncertainty so far in this earnings season.

DuPont’s sales fell 9 percent to $7.4 billion in the third quarter, while analysts on average had expected $8.15 billion.

Demand fell most sharply in Asia and Europe, hurt by higher prices for titanium dioxide, a key pigment used to make paint and a market DuPont dominates, and pastes used to make solar panels.

Trying to reassure Wall Street, DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said executives were “addressing these challenges now to position ourselves for improved performance.”

The company posted net income of $10 million, or a penny per share, compared with $452 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, DuPont earned 32 cents per share, while analysts on average had expected 46 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company plans to lay off 1,500 employees around the world, about 2 percent of its 70,000-person workforce.

Citing global anxiety, DuPont gets cautious on 2012

WILMINGTON, Del., Tue Jul 24, 2012 – DuPont expects 2012 earnings to come in at the bottom of its prior forecast range, due in part to economic uncertainty circling the globe, the maker of chemicals, hybrid seeds and Kevlar bulletproof fiber said on Tuesday.
The updated forecast, for earnings at the “lower end” of a range of $4.20 to $4.40 per share, came after the company posted a higher-than-expected profit for the second quarter.
Analysts on average expect earnings of $4.25 per share this year, meaning DuPont could fall short of Wall Street’s expectations.
Higher taxes and currency conversion should also weigh on results, said Chief Executive Ellen Kullman.
“We’re seeing sequential improvement in many markets that have been very sketchy in the first half of the year,” Kullman said on a conference call with analysts and investors. “Our ability to forecast is not as great as we used to think it was.”
DuPont reported second-quarter net income of $1.18 billion, or $1.25 per share, down from $1.22 billion, or $1.29 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.48 per share. By that measure, analysts expected $1.46, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 8 percent to $11.28 billion. Analysts had expected $11.27 billion.
Sales jumped the most in North America and Latin America, helped largely by strong sales of seeds and other agricultural products. Kullman said she would closely watch North American sales to industrial, commercial and housing customers.

DuPont profit beats Wall Street estimates, helped by price hikes

NEW YORK, Thu Apr 19, 2012 – DuPont’s first-quarter profit beat Wall Street expectations, helped by price hikes and strong sales of insecticides and genetically modified seeds.

The company reaffirmed its 2012 earnings target, with Chief Executive Ellen Kullman saying DuPont will prioritize research and development spending on food, energy and security products.

Results from DuPont often serve as a barometer for the global economy since its materials are used to produce a range of items, from cars and homes to televisions and smartphones.

Shares of DuPont rose 0.7 percent to $53.65 in premarket trading.

First-quarter sales in Europe rose 14 percent, largely due to DuPont’s 2011 buyout of Danish food ingredients maker Danisco. The buyout reflected Kullman’s desire to stabilize earnings and grow DuPont’s presence in the expanding food market.

Sales in Asia were flat, in part because of soft demand for titanium dioxide paint pigment from automobile manufacturers.

Sales in the United States and Latin America both spiked.

The company on Thursday posted net income of $1.49 billion, or $1.57 per share, compared with $1.43 billion, or $1.52 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a $50 million payment to customers of DuPont’s Imprelis herbicide, which damaged certain customers’ trees, the company earned $1.61 per share. By that measure, analysts expected $1.55, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

DuPont cuts full-year 2011 outlook; shares drop almost 5 percent

WILMINGTON, Del. ― Chemical maker DuPont cut its full-year profit outlook on Friday, citing slower growth in some of its businesses due to weakness in the company’s end markets, sending its shares down almost 5 percent.

DuPont’s warning follows a similar outlook cut from German specialty chemicals group Wacker Chemie and negative commentary from larger peer BASF, as the chemicals industry battles shrinking inventories at customers amid global economic uncertainty.

The chemical industry’s financial health often serves as a barometer for the global economy since its products are used to produce nearly every consumer good, from toys and toothbrushes to smartphones and solar panels.

DuPont is the largest global producer of titanium dioxide, a white pigment also known as Ti02 that is used to make paint and other consumer goods.

“The earnings revision reflects de-stocking across polymers and certain industrial supply chains that has accelerated during the fourth quarter,” DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement.

“Consumer electronics demand has further softened, and housing and construction markets remain weak,” she added.

In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, DuPont shares were down 4.9 percent at $44.21.

Analyst Hassan Ahmed, of Alembic Global Advisors, said the warning came as a surprise, since the company had raised its outlook in October when it announced higher-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

Price hikes help DuPont profit beat Wall Street estimates

WILMINGTON, Del. ― Chemical maker DuPont Co. posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and raised its 2011 earnings forecast, pushing shares up nearly 2 percent in premarket trading.

The strong outlook comes despite a weak environment for not only chemical makers — the latter part of the year is seasonally weakest for the industry — but also the broader economy.

DuPont, which makes a range of niche products including Kevlar, Tyvek and the titanium dioxide pigment used to make paint, nevertheless was able to raise prices in the third quarter by 15 percent.

Chief Executive Ellen Kullman touted the “resilience and diversity of DuPont’s business portfolio” as a defense against the rough economy.

For the third quarter, the company posted net income of $452 million, or 48 cents per share, compared with $367 million, or 40 cents per share, for the year-earlier period.

Excluding one-time items, including charges related to the buyout this year of Danish food enzyme maker Danisco, DuPont earned 69 cents per share.

By that measure, analysts had expected earnings of 56 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 32 percent to $9.24 billion. Analysts had expected $8.79 billion.

DuPont raised prices 15 percent across its portfolio during the quarter, the largest jump in more than a decade.

Most of the price jump came in the performance chemicals unit, which makes the widely popular titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment for paint. DuPont is the world’s largest supplier of the material, which is in tight supply.

The companywide increase had an effect on demand: total volume rose only 1 percent during the quarter.

DuPont said that while demand for Ti02 remains strong, it expects a “pause” during the fourth quarter.

“Titanium dioxide remains a central element of the DuPont story,” Ticonderoga Securities analyst Mark Gulley said. “We estimate that TiO2 will be about 25 percent of this year’s earnings and next year could be a third.”

Strong Latin American sales partially offset heavy spending in DuPont’s agriculture unit, where an operating loss shrank 64 percent to $69 million.

The unit was hampered last August after DuPont recalled its widely used Imprelis herbicide. Many customers and several lawsuits had complained that the treatment has killed thousands of trees.

The company spent heavily in its safety and protection unit, which makes the popular Kevlar material for bulletproof vests. DuPont recently expanded a South Carolina Kevlar plant.

Operating income in the safety and protection unit slipped 12 percent to $118 million.

Last month a U.S. federal jury awarded DuPont $919.9 million in damages, ruling that Kolon Industries Inc. had stolen Kevlar trade secrets. Kolon is appealing the ruling.

For the year, DuPont expects to earn $3.97 per share to $4.05 per share. The company had previously forecast $3.90 to $4.05.

Analysts expect 2011 earnings of $3.96 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of DuPont were up 1.9 percent at $46.95 in trading before the market opened. The stock has slipped 8 percent so far this year.