1 Chemical Company Worth Watching


Robust sales growth across all business segments and higher prices uplifted diversified chemical giant DuPont's (NYS: DD) adjusted bottom line by 17%, beating Street estimates. The Delaware-based company has also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.41 per share.

Are the numbers good enough for the company to grab a place in our watchlist? Let us figure it out.

The numbers
The chemical maker's consolidated revenue for the quarter jumped 19% from the year-ago period to $10.3 billion. While the primary driving factor was higher prices, volumes also increased across all business segments and regions. The agriculture unit contributed $3 billion to total sales, up 10% from last year, and the performance chemicals segment added around $2 billion, up a big 27% from last year.

Price increases helped offset raw materials and other costs, which rose by 13% from last year. As a result, the company's operating income surged 39% to $1.8 billion.

Strong top-line growth boosted DuPont's net income to $1.22 billion from $1.16 billion in the year-ago quarter. Excluding significant items such as costs related to the acquisition of Danisco, earnings per share grew to $1.37 from $1.17 in the same quarter last year.

Optimistic signs
The Danisco integration seems to have come around really fast, given that the acquisition was completed in May. It contributed 3% to sales in the second quarter.

An earlier acquisition of a sulfuric acid firm is proving beneficial, too, contributing 8% to the protection segment's sales by widening DuPont's reach in emerging markets. DuPont's latest acquisition has been Innovalight, with an aim to expand in the solar energy market.

Presence in developing markets is boosting DuPont's revenues significantly. These markets contributed 30% to total sales this time, growing a strong 29% year on year. Other players such as Dow Chemical (NYS: DOW) also reported a record 23% growth in Asia-Pacific sales in its second quarter.

Pricey paint
The most favorable trend working for the chemicals industry right now is the tight market for titanium dioxide. TiO2 producers are thus continuously passing on costs to their customers, mostly the paint companies. Last month, DuPont announced a fresh price hike. Other companies such as Huntsman (NYS: HUN) and Kronos Worldwide (NYS: KRO) both last announced such hikes in June. Clearly, these companies are making a lot of green out of the white pigment.

DuPont is also expanding its capacity for chemical production. Given the current trend, this should work in favor of the world's largest TiO2 producer.

The Foolish bottom line
DuPont's management has raised its full-year earnings guidance from a range of $3.65-$3.85 per share to $3.90-$4.05 per share. With expansionary moves and solid performances in major segments, the stock is worth watching.

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At the time thisarticle was published Neha Chamaria does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article.Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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