DuPont Posts Higher Profit, Raises Forecast

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. has said that its second-quarter earnings more than doubled from the year-earlier period, surpassing Wall Street expectations, and raised its full-year profit forecast.

DuPont (DD 40.80, +1.81, +4.64%) posted quarterly earnings of $1.16 billion, or $1.26 a share, up from $417 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, the chemical giant earned $1.17 a share in the latest quarter.

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On average, analysts polled by FactSet Research expected earnings of 93 cents a share.

Net sales reached $8.6 billion, up 26% from the prior-year quarter, helped by hefty volume increases and higher unit-sales prices.

Before the open, shares of DuPont, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA 10,525, +100.81, +0.97%) , climbed 3.3%.

"We grew sales across every segment," said Chief Executive Ellen Kullman in a statement. "Several businesses, including electronics and titanium dioxide, delivered results that far exceeded pre-recession levels."

Agriculture and nutrition—DuPont's largest unit by revenue—brought in $3 billion in sales, a 16% gain. Despite fixed-cost increases within the segment, price and volume growth led to a 31% jump in pretax profit.

The electronics and communications unit saw the biggest leap in sales, up 53% to $657 million. The company credited growing demand across all regions and market segments, especially photovoltaics, for the top-line growth.

The performance-chemicals division generated $1.6 billion in sales, a 26% boost, due to strong sales in the North American and Asia Pacific regions.

DuPont's performance-coatings and performance-materials units each posted higher sales as well, up 15% and 45%, respectively, on heavy volume and higher selling prices. Citing improving industrial markets, the company also saw a 27% rise in sales at its safety and protection unit.

Looking ahead, the company lifted its 2010 earnings projection to a range of $2.90 to $3.05 a share, excluding significant items. That compares with a prior forecast of $2.50 to $2.70 a share. DuPont said the increase takes into account the strong second-quarter performance and "further strengthening of mid-cycle businesses and ongoing productivity improvement."

Analysts, on average, were expecting a full-year profit of $2.64 a share, according to FactSet.

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