DuPont reported strong earnings in the fourth quarter.
Operating earnings for the global company based in Wilmington were $.59 per share compared to $.20 per share in the prior year. Earnings from continuing operations were $183 million or $.19 per share, versus $4 million or zero per share last year.
Results, according to the company, reflected strong volume growth, improved operating margins and a lower base tax rate compared to same period in 2012.
The company said that it expects full-year 2014 operating earnings of $4.20 to $4.45 per share, up 8 to 15 percent compared to 2013. DuPont separately announced that its board authorized a new $5 billion share repurchase program, with $2 billion expected to occur in 2014.
“Our strong fourth quarter results reflect successful execution across the company against the backdrop of a gradually improving global economy,” said DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman. “For the year, we delivered double- digit operating earnings growth and higher margins, aside from the substantial decline in Performance Chemicals. The improvement was driven by higher volumes, new innovative products and productivity gains.”
“Our 2013 results and strategic actions demonstrate we are advancing our plan to build a higher growth, higher value DuPont and reinforce our decision to separate Performance Chemicals into a strong, independent company,” Kullman said. “Our $5 billion share repurchase program reflects ongoing confidence in our plan to continue increasing the value of DuPont for shareholders in 2014 and beyond.”
The company is spinning off the performance chemicals segment after activist shareholder Nelson Peltz bought a small stake in the company and reportedly pushed for a sale of spin off of the segment.
Highlights, according to the company were:
Company sales increased 6 percent to $7.7 billion, with 9 percent volume growth reflecting increased demand across all segments and regions.
Segment operating earnings of $939 million increased 52 percent versus $616 million last year, with operating margin improvement across most segments.
Agriculture operating earnings were $88 million compared to a seasonal operating loss of $77 million last year, driven by strong insecticide sales in Latin America and earlier seed shipments.
Electronics & Communications, Safety & Protection and Nutrition & Health recorded operating earnings increases of 116 percent, 57 percent, and 40 percent, respectively.
Operating earnings for 2013 were $3.88 per share, up 3 percent from $3.77 per share in the prior year. Sales increased 3 percent to $35.7 billion with 5 percent higher volume. GAAP earnings from continuing operations were $3.04 per share versus $2.59 per share last year.
Segment operating earnings were $5.9 billion, down from $6.3 billion last year primarily due to a $0.8 billion decline ($.66 per share) in Performance Chemicals. Excluding Performance Chemicals in both years, segment operating earnings increased $490 million, or 11 percent.
Agriculture operating earnings grew 16 percent on 13 percent higher sales.