21 July 2009 12:20 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--DuPont's second-quarter net profits were down 61.3% year on year at $417m (€292m) as demand for key products remained depressed, the US chemicals major said on Tuesday.
Sales of coatings, products for electronics, the company’s performance products and its high-strength materials were down by a quarter on the same period a year ago.
The electronics and safety and protection business segments reported operating losses for the period, with the performance materials segment businesses struggling to make a profit against the backdrop of market weakness and ongoing restructuring.
DuPont’s total segment pre-tax operating profit for the quarter, excluding significant charges and gains, was down 36.5% at $1.09bn. Group net sales were down 22.4% at $6.9bn.
DuPont said a 15% increase in profits from the agriculture and nutrition segment was driven by a 21% increase in seed sales.
Combined sales volumes from the coatings and colour technologies, electronic and communication technologies, performance materials and safety and protection segments were 25% below the second quarter of 2008, but showed “solid increases” from the first quarter of this year, beyond the normal 2009 beyond the normal seasonal run-up.
"Our aggressive actions to improve productivity and reduce costs across the company are paying off as we contend with continued weak demand in key segments," said CEO Ellen Kullman.
"We will continue to rigorously apply the financial discipline and operational excellence needed during one of the most challenging economic periods ever seen," she added.
The company reaffirmed a 2009 earnings outlook range of $1.70 to $2.10 per share, excluding significant items. EPS, excluding significant items in the second quarter, were $0.61.
“The outlook anticipates prevailing weak demand across key markets other than agriculture with gradual improvement from current recessionary levels during the remainder of 2009,” DuPont said in a statement.
DuPont said restructuring and productivity gains in the quarter were $335m, bringing year-to-date savings from these programmes of about $600m against a 2009 target of $1bn.
The build-up of working capital in the first half of 2009 was 40% less than last year, reflecting a $1bn inventory reduction compared with June 2008. DuPont reiterated that it expected to achieve a $1bn working capital reduction for the full year.
($1 = €0.70)
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