UpdateUS DuPont Q4 2012 net income falls 70% to $111m

22 January 2013 13:47  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds additional segment data, 2013 outlook)

LONDON (ICIS)--DuPont posted a net income of $111m (€83m) in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 70% decline on the $373m net income generated during the same quarter the year before, partly on the back of weakness in markets served by its Performance Chemicals business, the US chemical major said on Tuesday.

Although the figure represents a fall year on year, the figure represents an elevenfold increase on the $10m net income posted for the third quarter of 2012.

Total net income for 2012 was $2.8bn, down from $3.5bn in 2011, the company added.

Fourth-quarter net sales were stable year on year at $7.3bn, while full-year net sales were $34.8bn, up from $33.7bn in 2011.

The company achieved above-expectation efficiency savings during 2012, with productivity benefits estimated at $400m compared with its target of $300m.

DuPont's Performance Chemicals earnings were sharply down year on year, with the division generating pre-tax operating income of $200m during the quarter compared with $433m during the same period in 2011. The company attributed the decline primarily to weak demand for fluoropolymers in the US and Europe.

However, the Performance Materials unit's pre-tax operating income for the period was $254m, compared with $151m in the final three months of 2011, with the increase attributed to lower feedstock costs and higher volume, partially offset by unfavourable currency conditions, DuPont said.

Losses narrowed year on year for DuPont’s Agriculture segment, which posted a pre-tax operating loss of $92m compared with a $116m loss in the fourth quarter of 2011 on the back of improved Latin American volumes and pricing gains.

Pre-tax operating income levels were up for the Industrial Biosciences and Nutrition & Health divisions, rising to $44m year on year from $34m and $66m year on year from $52m respectively, driven by higher volumes.

DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said: "Weakness in markets served by [the] Performance Chemicals and Electronics & Communications [divisions] provided significant challenges in 2012. We've adjusted our plans to meet the changing market environment and grow our businesses in a slow-growth world economy”.

The company predicted that operating earnings are likely to be down slightly year on year for the first half of 2013, and that full-year sales are expected to be around $36bn. DuPont forecast that earnings per share for the year would be $3.85-4.05 apiece, a 2-7% increase on the $3.77 per share generated in 2012.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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