23 April 2013 14:04 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--DuPont’s 2013 first-quarter net income more than doubled to $3.3bn (€2.5bn), from $1.5bn in the same period a year ago, driven by record operating earnings in its agricultural segment, which offset declining earnings in performance chemicals, the US-based producer said on Tuesday.
DuPont’s sales for the three months ended 31 March rose by 2% year on year to $10.4bn, reflecting volume growth.
DuPont’s total first-quarter segment operating earnings were down by 8% year on year to $2.3bn, largely due to a $320m decline in performance chemicals.
DuPont’s agriculture segment reported operating earnings of $1.5bn, up by 13% year on year, on higher volumes and prices, partially offset by higher seed input costs which pressured margins slightly.
The earnings improvement in agriculture was driven by a 14% increase in sales that reflected strong corn seed sales in North America and Brazil, as well as strong crop protection sales volumes in North America and Latin America, the company said.
In its electronics and communications segment, DuPont reported a $10m decline in operation earnings, to $49m, driven largely by lower sales in photovoltaic markets.
In industrial biosciences, DuPont’s operating earnings rose by 5% to $41m on higher demand and lower input costs for the company’s Sorona-brand polymer for carpeting, as well as growth in food enzymes, partially offset by lower enzyme demand for ethanol production.
In nutrition and health, operating earnings fell by $3m to $76m as pricing gains, strong demand for probiotics and specialty protein solution was offset by higher raw material costs.
Performance chemicals’ operating earnings were $251m, down by $320m from the same period a year ago, primarily because of substantial price declines in the titanium dioxide (TiO2) market and weak demand for fluoropolymers, particularly in North America and Asia Pacific.
TiO2 volume was essentially flat year on year, but increased by 8% from the fourth quarter of 2012, the company added.
In performance materials, operating earnings rose by 5% year on year to $292m, mainly because of lower feedstock costs and higher sales volume in packaging markets. Those positive trends were only partially offset by weak demand in the European automotive market and continued softness in the industrial and electronics markets.
In its safety protection segment, DuPont’s operating earnings fell by $21m to $138m, on lower sales, a weaker sales mix, and lower plant utilisation.
($1 = €0.77)
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