DuPont delays release of seed products, stock down

AP News
Posted: Dec 04, 2009 2:10 PM

Shares of DuPont tumbled Friday on news that the company's Pioneer Hi-Bred seed business will delay the release of its corn hybrids and soybean varieties products.

DuPont said the current version of the trait in corn does not meet Pioneer's high yield standards. As a result, Pioneer has reset its plans to commercialize its Optimum GAT corn and will not have controlled releases in 2010 and 2011 in North America.

The chemicals company also affirmed its agriculture and nutrition business segment's estimated growth rate, but investors pushed Dupont's stock down $2.46, or 7 percent, to $32.39 in afternoon trading.

Pioneer plans to intensify its research efforts for the corn trait and work toward commercialization in the middle of the next decade, Dupont said.

Meanwhile, the Wilmington, Del., company said it expects to release its Optimum GAT soybeans two to three years later than the anticipated 2011 introduction due to changes in regulatory policy in key import markets and increasing complexity in managing grain stewardship.

The company said it is "aggressively pursuing" the regulatory approvals, and has already received clearance in the U.S. and Canada.

DuPont affirmed a 15 percent compounded annual earnings growth rate through 2013 at its agriculture and nutrition business segment, the largest of six company segments, based on year-to-date net sales.