Wilmington-based DuPont announced first quarter 2014 operating earnings of $1.58 per share compared to $1.56 per share in the prior year. The Wall Street Journal reported the earnings were slightly below analysts’ estimates.
Consolidated sales were $10.1 billion, 3 percent below last year, principally due to differences in timing and planted area for agriculture sales, negative currency impact, and adverse weather conditions in North America.
DuPont is spinning off its performance chemical business, which has led to earnings volatility.
However, volume grew in each of DuPont’s industrial related segments and operating margins increased in six of seven busienss segments versus last year’s first quarter.
“We achieved substantial earnings growth in most of our segments in the first quarter as we advanced our strategic and operational priorities,” said Ellen Kullman, DuPont CEO. “We delivered near record earnings per share despite the challenges of harsh weather and differences in year-on-year comparisons in our Agriculture Segment, and our key initiatives remain on track. I’m pleased with the progress we are making to deliver further value to shareholders and strengthen DuPont’s position as an engine of science-driven innovation.”
“Looking ahead, we will continue to operate our businesses with focused discipline and increasing productivity. We expect steady growth in industrial production to continue to drive increases in demand for DuPont products worldwide. As a result, we are reaffirming our outlook for operating earnings per share growth in 2014,” said Kullman.
Summaries by segment follow:
Agriculture – Operating earnings of $1,442 million declined $74 million, or 5 percent, on lower volumes due to the earlier timing of seed shipments realized in the fourth quarter of 2013 versus the first quarter, lower corn planted area in Brazil and in North America, and lower herbicide volumes in North America. This was partially offset by pricing gains in seeds, higher insecticide volumes in Latin America, and lower seed input costs.
Electronics & Communications – Operating earnings of $75 million increased $26 million, or 53 percent, largely because of higher sales volumes, mainly in photovoltaic markets.
Industrial Biosciences – Operating earnings of $56 million increased $15 million, or 37 percent, from increased demand for enzymes for ethanol production and lower costs.
Nutrition & Health –Operating earnings of $93 million increased $17 million, or 22 percent, driven by improved product mix, productivity gains and lower raw material costs.
Performance Chemicals – Operating earnings of $200 million were down $51 million, or 20 percent, due primarily to lower prices in fluoroproducts, principally refrigerants. Higher raw material and energy costs as a result of the adverse weather and lower Ti02 prices were also contributors. Segment earnings benefitted from higher volumes and productivity improvements.
Performance Materials – Operating earnings of $299 million increased $7 million, or 2 percent, reflecting stronger volumes in automotive markets, largely offset by higher ethane and natural gas costs due primarily to weather related factors.
Safety & Protection – Operating earnings of $175 million increased $37 million, or 27 percent, primarily due to productivity gains and higher volumes.
Additional information is available on the DuPont Investor Center website at http://www.investors.dupont.com.
The company reaffirmed its outlook for full-year 2014 operating earnings of $4.20-$4.45 per share, an increase of 8-15 percent from $3.88 per share earned in 2013, based on anticipated growth in global industrial market demand. The company also expects it will earn about 70 percent of its full year operating earnings per share in the first half.