DuPont sees some sequential sales growth in second quarter

21 April 2009 17:20  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--DuPont expects some sequential quarter-to-quarter sales growth in its industrial businesses in the second quarter but steep declines in volumes and revenues year on year, the company said on Tuesday.

Modest sales growth was forecast as de-stocking in customer industries slowly comes to an end but the global economic downturn was forecast now to be much worse than earlier projections indicated.

“We expect flat to slightly up sequential sales,” chief financial officer Jeffrey Keefer said during an earnings conference call.

Sales volumes were mixed from a business and country-by-country perspective, DuPont said. There was a sequential month-to-month uptick in sales volume in March, Keefer added. And Asia titanium dioxide sales had been higher in March compared with January and February.

The company had seen some benefit in electronics from China’s economic stimulus package, yet the regional picture was mixed.

Europe continues to be down and we have not seen the end of de-stocking there,” Keefer said.

DuPont reported a severely depressed first quarter with industrial business sales volumes down 30% year on year and losses in three of its industrial segments.

It said, however, that there had been some relief from de-stocking in some markets in March.

“We expect a larger volume contraction in 2009 than projected three months ago,” CEO Ellen Kullman said.

DuPont had projected a decline in global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009 of 0.9% but the outlook now was for a 2009 global GDP drop of 3.5%, she added.

The US-headquartered chemicals group did not give an earnings outlook for the second quarter because, it said, of global market uncertainty, but its more detailed sales outlook indicated some end to de-stocking in important markets for the company.

It said it expected less de-stocking in industrial chemicals and polymers, in electronics, and building materials, for example, and a sequential increase in motor vehicle construction despite continued auto industry weakness.

Its aramid fibres protective materials business, however, was likely to be affected by late cycle de-stocking in the quarter, it said.

DuPont was trading up 3.5% at $27.7 at 11:37 New York time (15:37 GMT) on Tuesday.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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