DOVER, Del. – The DuPont Co. said strong demand for agricultural products in Latin America offset weak pricing for a key industrial pigment in contributing to an increase in third-quarter earnings.
The Wilmington chemical company reported net income of $285 million, or 30 cents per share Tuesday, on revenue of $7.8 billion. Removing one-time tax and pension costs, earnings were 45 cents per share, up from 43 cents per share last year and topping the 41 cents Wall Street analysts were expecting, according to a FactSet poll.
For the same period last year, DuPont reported net income of about $5 million, and broke even on a per-share basis.
The latest quarter saw sales increase 5 percent, and overall volume was up 9 percent, reflecting volume growth in all geographic regions.
DuPont shares rose 71 cents, or 1.2 percent Tuesday, to close at $60.17, near their 52-week high of $60.86.
Notwithstanding strong performance in agriculture, photovoltaics and personal protection markets, the latest results underscore concerns about DuPont’s performance chemicals unit, whose products include titanium dioxide, or TiO2, a whitening pigment used in a wide range of products, from paint to toothpaste. The company operates a plant that makes Corian in the Town of Tonawanda.
DuPont chairwoman and CEO Ellen Kullman said the company is exploring several strategic alternatives for the performance chemicals unit, a commodities business that generates significant cash but also is subject to highly volatile markets. She declined to provide details or a timeline for deciding the future of the unit, which could be sold or spun off.