DuPont Lowers Outlook, Will Cut Jobs

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (NYSE: DD) reported third-quarter 2012 results before markets opened this morning. The chemicals maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.44 on revenues of $7.4 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.69 on revenues of $9.24 billion. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.47 and $8.14 billion in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported EPS of $0.01.

The company's CEO said:

Today, we are taking additional actions to improve competitiveness and accelerate market-driven innovation and growth by fine-tuning the organization, eliminating costs and expanding beyond our everyday focus on productivity. ... Weaker than expected demand in titanium dioxide and photovoltaic markets contributed to the decline from last year's record third-quarter earnings.

Among DuPont's "additional actions" is the elimination of about 1,500 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months. The company also plans to effect pretax cost savings of about $450 million "by eliminating corporate costs supporting Performance Coatings" and taking other actions. DuPont sold its Performance Coatings division to Carlyle Group L.P. (NASDAQ: CG) in August for $4.9 billion.

The company also lowered its full-year EPS guidance from $3.55 to a range of $3.25 to $3.30, excluding items.

In the third quarter, sales fell in each of the company's geographic divisions and sales took a 4% hit due to currency exchange rates. By business segment, only DuPont's Agriculture group and its Nutrition and Health group posted a sales gain over the same period a year ago.

Dupont's shares are down about 6% in premarket trading at $46.75 in a 52-week range of $43.06 to $57.50. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $56.20 before today's report.

Paul Ausick