DUPONT NET DROPS

Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Blaming higher raw material costs and a weaker euro, DuPont’s third-quarter results were in line with analysts’ expectations.
DuPont on Wednesday reported $562 million in income, or 54 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from $7.53 billion, or $7.25, in the comparable year-ago period. The 1999 results include earnings from discontinued operations.
Excluding discontinued operations, the quarter’s income from continuing operations before one-time items dropped 14 percent to $537 million, or 51 cents a share, compared to $625 million, or 59 cents, last year. The company said higher sales volume and higher local selling prices were more than offset by the negative impact of higher raw material costs and a stronger U.S. dollar. Sales for the period were essentially flat at $6.45 billion versus last year’s $6.46 billion.
Charles O. Holliday Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement: “During the third quarter, DuPont faced one of the most significant economic challenges in decades.” He added that by raising prices, improving productivity and growing volume, the company “overcame $200 million of a $250 million aftertax earnings impact from surging raw materials costs and currency.”
He remained cautious about the firm’s prospects for top-line growth in the fourth quarter because of slowing global economies.
On the specialty fibers business, DuPont said segment earnings were 12 percent lower, as increased earnings from Kevlar fiber and Nomex fiber and paper were more than offset by lower Lycra elastane earnings. Revenue in the nylon business increased 5 percent based on price hikes of 3 percent and a volume boost of 2 percent.
However, while demand for industrial nylon remains strong, there is a softening in certain apparel segments, the company said. The slump is primarily in Europe, and to a lesser extent in the U.S.

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