DuPont Revenue Misses Estimates After Farmers Switch

July 23, 2014 09:41 AM
 
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DuPont Co., the U.S. chemicals producer under pressure from activist investor Nelson Peltz to accelerate earnings growth, posted lower-than-expected second- quarter revenue after some farmers switched to genetically modified soybeans from corn.

Sales dropped to $9.71 billion from $9.84 billion, missing the $9.77 billion average of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Net income rose to $1.07 billion, or $1.15 a share, from $1.03 billion, or $1.11, a year earlier, the Wilmington, Delaware-based company said in a statement today. Operating earnings were $1.17 a share, matching the average estimate of 18 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Analysts trimmed estimates after DuPont said June 26 that operating profit in the quarter would be lower than expected because of the performance at its agriculture unit. The segment, DuPont’s largest by revenue, was affected by the decision of some U.S. farmers to switch to soybeans planting instead of corn, leading to writedowns on seed inventories.

DuPont today reiterated its full-year operating earnings forecast of $4 to $4.10 a share. The average estimate of 20 analysts was $4.02.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman said last month that DuPont plans to eliminate $1 billion in annual costs by 2019. The cuts will align DuPont’s cost structure with its shrinking footprint after the separation of performance chemicals, its second-biggest business, she said at the time.

Kullman has been selling units to focus the company on the intersection of chemistry and biology, a strategy embodied in DuPont’s agriculture, biofuels and nutrition businesses. The separation of performance chemicals follows DuPont’s sale last year of its auto-paint unit to Carlyle Group LP for $4.9 billion.

 

(DuPont will host a conference call at 9 a.m. New York time, which can be accessed at or LIVE .) www.dupont.com

 

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