DuPont's 3Q profit drops, but tops Street

AP News
Posted: Oct 26, 2010 8:09 AM
DuPont's 3Q profit drops, but tops Street

Chemical maker DuPont's third-quarter net income fell as patents expired in its pharmaceuticals division, but results topped Wall Street's expectations.

The company also boosted its full-year adjusted earnings guidance above analysts' views on Tuesday, citing its quarterly performance and expectations for continued demand in certain markets.

DuPont has benefited from the improving global economy, particularly in areas such as the Asia Pacific region. The company makes a variety of chemicals for use in the electronics, automotive and solar energy industries.

E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. earned $367 million, or 40 cents per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That's down 10 percent from $409 million, or 45 cents per share, a year ago.

The expiration of patents in its pharmaceuticals segment lowered net income by 13 cents per share.

Still, the performance topped the forecasts of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who expected 34 cents per share. These estimates usually remove one-time items.

Chairman and CEO Ellen Kullman said in a statement that in addition to strong sales growth across its business segments, the company benefited from improved productivity and cost controls.

The company also reported that it made a voluntary payment of $500 million to its principal U.S. pension plan in September.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $7.07 billion from $6.16 billion, helped by higher volumes and better sales in emerging markets. Wall Street was looking for $6.76 billion.

Revenue increased across all divisions. DuPont reported higher volumes across its units as well, with safety and protection volume rising 31 percent and electronics and communications volume increasing 24 percent.

DuPont has done well because of the diversity of its business and because it is not heavily dependent on the U.S. market. In September, Executive Vice President Jeffrey L. Keefer told analysts the company is positioned for global growth, with 60 percent of revenue coming from outside the U.S.

Third-quarter sales for the Asia Pacific region increased 31 percent to $1.9 billion, while Canadian sales rose 21 percent to $100 million. For Europe, the Middle East and Africa, sales climbed 9 percent to $1.7 billion. Latin America sales gained 11 percent to $1.1 billion and U.S. sales rose 17 percent to $2.2 billion.

For the full year, DuPont now anticipates adjusted earnings of approximately $3.10 per share. Previously the company, based in Wilmington, Del., predicted earnings of $2.90 to $3.05 per share.

The guidance excludes significant items, including a 13 cents per share loss on early debt extinguishment.

Analysts expect earnings of $3.04 per share for 2010.

In August, DuPont said it expects 2010 revenue to grow at least 15 percent this year, which would put sales right around $30 billion, partly from aggressive new product launches. The company is targeting markets such as seeds, crop protection and energy-efficiency products.

In pre-market trading Tuesday, DuPont shares were up 29 cents to $47.99.