DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
DuPont Co.'s (DD) first-quarter profit rose 4% as the chemicals giant benefited from higher pricing and a jump in sales of agricultural products, as well as strong growth in developing markets.
DuPont, a diversified U.S. manufacturer, has received a boost from higher pricing in recent quarters, offsetting raw material expenses.
The company was one of the first companies last year to highlight the issue of destocking--customers working down their inventories instead of buying new products. The company saw a dip in its profits at the end of the year, and warned that customers in its consumer electronics sector would continue destocking.
Dupont saw a brighter outlook in other sectors, however, expecting a bounce from U.S. auto making and other manufacturing.
DuPont reported income of $1.49 billion, or $1.57 a share, up from $1.43 billion, or $1.52, a year earlier. Excluding special items, earnings in the latest quarter were $1.61 a share.
Net sales were up 12% to $11.23 billion. Volume dropped 2%, offset by prices, which rose 8%.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters estimated a profit of $1.55 on revenue of $11.23 billion.
DuPont's agricultural segment, its biggest topline contributor, rose 16% in sales, with growth in volumes and pricing. The company's performance materials segment saw roughly 6% lower sales, while sales of performance coatings were up 6%.
Sales in developing markets grew 15%.
Shares of DuPont, which affirmed its 2012 guidance, closed Wednesday at $53.27 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 16% so far this year.
--By Kristin Jones, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2208; email@example.com