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DuPont 1Q profit falls on weak demand

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[April 21, 2009]  DOVER, Del. (AP) -- Chemical maker DuPont Co. reported a 59 percent drop in first-quarter profit Tuesday, citing a severe decline in global industrial demand.

DonutsThe Wilmington-based company also cut its full-year outlook and said it is working to cut fixed costs by $1 billion this year, up from an earlier target of $730 million. The company also reduced planned capital expenditures by another $200 million, to $1.4 billion.

For the quarter, DuPont reported earnings of $488 million, or 54 cents per share, down from $1.19 billion, or $1.31 per share, for the corresponding period last year.

Consolidated net sales declined 20 percent to $6.9 billion, with higher local prices unable to offset double-digit volume declines in all regions, including a 31 percent decline in Asia-Pacific volume.

Sales volumes were down in four of the company's five business platforms, and essentially flat in the agriculture and nutrition unit. DuPont saw a drop in demand from the construction and auto sectors, as well as declines in consumer spending.

Total revenue fell 17 percent to $7.27 billion.

Analysts expected profit of 52 cents per share on revenue of $7.74 billion.

DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said strong performance in the agriculture and nutrition unit, along with cost-cutting measures, helped curb the impact of the largest decline in industrial demand in decades.

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"Our teams are working with urgency and agility to stay ahead of the worst global recession since the 1930s," she said.

DuPont cut its full-year earnings outlook to a range of $1.70 to $2.10 per share, down from a previous forecast for profit of $2 to $2.50 per share.

Analysts expect earnings of $1.88 per share.

[Associated Press; By RANDALL CHASE]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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