DOVER, Del. (AP) — The DuPont Co. said Tuesday that its net income more than doubled in the first quarter on a gain from the sale of its performance coatings unit and strong continuing results in its agricultural unit.
DuPont, based in Wilmington, Del., reported net income of $ 3.35 billion or $ 3.58 per share for the quarter ended March 31. That’s up from $ 1.49 billion, or $ 1.58 per share, a year ago.
Revenue increased 2 percent to $ 10.4 billion, matching Wall Street expectations, with 4 percent volume growth in North American and Latin America. Sales were flat in the Asia-Pacific region and down slightly in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Overall, global volume was up 2 percent.
DuPont’s results include net income from discontinued operations after taxes of $ 1.9 billion, compared to $ 95 million in last year’s first quarter. The latest results reflect completion of the company’s sale of its performance coatings unit, which produces automotive and industrial paints, for $ 4.9 billion to The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm.
DuPont also took a one-time pre-tax charge of $ 35 million to settle claims related to use of its weed killer Imprelis, which has been blamed for damaging evergreen trees.
Excluding one-time items, DuPont reported operating earnings of $ 1.46 billion, or $ 1.56 per share, for the quarter compared with $ 1.5 billion, or $ 1.64 per share, for the first quarter of last year.
“The first quarter finished as expected, with the strong agriculture performance and performance chemicals’ decline from peak levels last year,” said DuPont chairwoman and CEO Ellen Kullman.
Its shares rose 32 cents to $ 50.73 in premarket trading.
DuPont said sales in its agriculture unit increased 14 percent in the first quarter to $ 4.67 billion, as volume grew 8 percent and prices from new seed and crop protection products increased 6 percent. Operating earnings totaled a record $ 1.5 billion, up 13 percent.
In contrast, the performance chemicals unit saw sales plunge 17 percent to $ 1.5 billion, as volumes slid 6 percent and prices dropped 11 percent. Operating earnings were down 56 percent to $ 251 million. The results reflect substantial price declines in the sluggish market for titanium dioxide, a whitening pigment used in products ranging from toothpaste to paint, and weak demand for fluoropolymers. DuPont said titanium dioxide volume compared to last year’s first quarter but increased 8 percent compared to the last quarter of 2012.
DuPont reaffirmed its full-year outlook for operating earnings of $ 3.85-$ 4.05 per share, compared to $ 3.77 per share for 2012.
The company also announced a 5 percent increase in its quarterly cash dividend.