Wilmington, Del-based DuPont said profits in the second half of the year could drop 20 to 25 cents a share compared to a year ago because of soaring prices for crude oil and natural gas, the chief raw materials used by chemical companies.
Nonetheless, the company said earnings for the full year should still grow by 17 to 20 percent on the back of stronger prices for its chemicals and plastics and strong markets outside of the United States.
And over the past several months, DuPont has managed to overcome some of the higher costs of raw materials with solid sales, which rose to $7.9 billion in the second quarter, up 13 percent from the $7 billion it reported a year ago.
Its second quarter profits also squeezed past analysts’ expectations, rising 7 percent to $949 million, or 90 cents a share, before special items. In the same period a year ago, DuPont earned $886 million, or 78 cents.
Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had expected the company on average to earn 88 cents a share for the quarter.
“Overall these were solid results,” said Frank Mitsch, an analyst with Chase H&Q. “If you consider the head winds they faced with respect to the weak Euro and high raw material costs, to show results is indicative of the strong portfolio they have.”
Charles O. Holliday, Jr., DuPont chairman and chief executive officer, said more than half of the company’s key businesses delivered double-digit earnings growth in the second quarter.
DuPont’s strongest growth came from its performance coatings, speciality polymers, and pigments and chemicals business. It also benefited from taking full ownership of Pioneer Hi-Bred, its seed company..
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3M Beats 2Q Earnings Estimates
A strong flow of new products and productivity gains helped boost 3M Co. earnings nearly 12 percent in the second quarter to $470 million, up from $421 a year earlier. The earnings of $1.18 a share for the quarter ended June 30 compared with $1.03 a share in the same period a year ago, excluding a one-time, after-tax gain of $55 million in the earlier period.
Sales for the quarter totaled $4.22 billion, up 9 percent from $3.86 billion in the second quarter of 1999.
The results beat by 2 cents the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial.
“We continue to deliver solid growth,” said L.D. DeSimone, chairman and chief executive. “Our electro communications businesses continued to register strong growth. We also saw solid gains in our consumer and office and our transportation, graphics and safety segments.”
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. produces a wide range of products, including Scotch tape, Post-it Notes and products for the electronics, telecommunications, automotive, industrial, consumer and office, health care and safety markets.
Productivity gains also contributed to 3M’s performance, he said.
For the first six months, earnings totaled $957 million, or $2.39 a share, compared with $860 million, or $2.12 a share, a year earlier.
The 2000 figure includes a one-time gain of $31 million, or 8 cents a share, related to the termination of a health care marketing agreement. The 1999 figure includes a one-time gain of $55 million, or 14 cents a share. Excluding the nonrecurring items, first-half earnings totaled $926 million, compared with $805 million a year earlier.
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Xerox Warns on Second Half