DuPont expects Q1 sales volumes to fall year on year, up from Q4

24 January 2012 16:34  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman on Tuesday voiced caution regarding the company's expectations for 2012 first-quarter volumes, saying they would be down when compared with the first quarter of 2011, but up from the fourth quarter.

While volumes in many of DuPont’s industrial businesses are expected to increase sequentially from the fourth quarter, year-on-year 2012 first-quarter volumes would be down compared with DuPont’s strong 2011 first-quarter, Kullman told analysts during the company’s results conference call.

In the 2011 fourth-quarter, DuPont reported a 10% year-on-year decline in volumes, reflecting decreases across in all regions – US and Canada down 1%; Europe, Middle East & Africa down 13%; Latin America down 3%; and Asia-Pacific down 23%.

“At this point, many of our supply-chain inventories are low, and we expect demand to pick up slowly, starting late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter,” Kullman said.

Kullman added that the fourth-quarter volume decline did not reflect “macro-conditions” as most regions continued to register GDP growth.

“It is our view that fourth-quarter volume performance was strongly impacted by cash conservation and supply-chain actions, and did not reflect broad macro-conditions,” she said.

Overall, DuPont expects modest sales growth in 2012 as conditions in many of the company’s industrial businesses will improve as the year progresses, Kullman said.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific demand should recover from a slow-down in the 2011 fourth quarter, while the US economy is expected to continue its “slow” sequential recovery.

However, demand in many of DuPont’s European markets will be weak, Kullman said.

DuPont’s fourth-quarter 2011 net income stood at $373m (€287.2m), compared with the $376m reported for the same quarter of the previous year, as selling prices offset lower volumes and increased costs and spending.

($1 = €0.77)

Additional reporting by Nigel Davis

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