DuPont says first-quarter net income soars

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.


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Lennox International posts 1Q net income of $8M

DALLAS (AP) — Lennox International Inc. said Monday that it earned $ 8 million in the first quarter, reversing a loss in the same quarter the year before, helped by lower losses related to the sale of its service business.

The Dallas-based maker of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration products said its net income amounted to 16 cents per share and compared with a loss of $ 6.1 million, or 12 cents per share, last year.

Excluding losses related to its plans to sell the business, the company said it posted an adjusted profit from continuing operations of 33 cents per share compared with an adjusted 19 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $ 668.4 million from $ 614.4 million.

The results easily beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 27 cents per share on $ 633.9 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Lennox said residential revenue increased 15 percent to $ 315 million, helped by an increase in new home construction and the company’s efforts to boost replacement sales. Commercial revenue increased 4 percent to $ 163 million.

Lennox said that it’s off to a good start for the year, but cautioned that the largest seasonal periods of the year are still to come and that economic uncertainty remains.

The company boosted the low end of its previous full-year earnings prediction by 10 cents, saying that it now expects to post an adjusted profit of $ 3.25 to $ 3.55 per share.

The company also narrowed its full-year revenue guidance to a range of 3 to 6 percent from its previous prediction of 2 to 6 percent. Based on the company’s 2012 revenue of $ 2.95 billion, the narrowed guidance projects 2013 revenue of between $ 3.04 billion and $ 3.13 billion. Analysts expect an adjusted profit of $ 3.39 per share and sales of $ 3.09 billion.

Lennox shares rose 31 cents to $ 62.14 in morning trading.


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Kinder Morgan 1st-quarter net income jumps

HOUSTON (AP) — Kinder Morgan Inc. said Wednesday its first-quarter net income rose sharply as the natural-gas pipeline operator’s revenue from its pipelines rose and the company increased its quarterly dividend.

The Houston energy company said net income during the January-to-March quarter rose to $ 292 million, or 28 cents per share, from $ 21 million, or 3 cents per share, last year. Analysts expected 33 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 65 percent to $ 3.06 billion from $ 1.86 billion last year. Analysts expected revenue of $ 2.76 billion.

Kinder Morgan Chairman and CEO Richard D. Kinder said the company benefited from good results from its El Paso Pipeline Partners and natural gas assets, which it acquired in 2012. It also saw a strong performance from Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP.

The company also said its future results will be driven mainly by its ownership of the general partner of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and El Paso Pipeline Partners LP.

Kinder Morgan raised its quarterly dividend to 38 cents, up a penny from the fourth quarter. The dividend is payable May 16 to shareholders of record as of April 29.

CEO Kinder said the company is well positioned for growth in 2013, with $ 12 billion in expansion and joint venture investments identified across its companies.

Kinder Morgan expects to declare $ 1.57 annually in dividends in 2013, up 12 percent form 2012.

Kinder Morgan shares closed down 57 cents to $ 37.80, closer to the high end of its 52-week range of $ 30.51 to $ 39.39.


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Heartland Express 1Q net income up 19 pct

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) — Trucking company Heartland Express Inc. said Tuesday that proceeds from selling some property and equipment helped increase its first-quarter net income 19 percent.

The North Liberty, Iowa-based company earned $ 19.7 million, or 23 cents per share, up from $ 16.6 million, or 19 cents per share, for the same quarter the year before. It recorded a gain of $ 11.2 million gain from the sale.

Revenue was nearly unchanged — $ 134.3 million compared with $ 134.8 million. The company had fewer business days in the January-March quarter because both Easter and Good Friday fell during the period.

Profit beat Wall Street predictions, while revenue fell short. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 19 cents per share on $ 137 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Fuel costs rose, by less than 1 percent, due to harsher winter weather and higher fuel prices. Fuel is the company’s biggest expense.

Heartland Express shares rose 17 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $ 13.28 in afternoon trading.


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First Republic 1Q net income up 28 pct

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — First Republic Bank said Monday that its first-quarter net income rose 28 percent, helped by increases in lending and fees.

The San Francisco-based bank earned $ 114.5 million, or 85 cents per share, after paying dividends on preferred stock. That’s up from $ 89.3 million, or 67 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, profit rose to 72 cents from 49 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 62 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Net interest income, or the amount of money banks make on loans and deposits, increased 6 percent to $ 298 million. The company said its loan origination volume was its highest ever for a first quarter, and loans outstanding rose 20 percent to $ 28.7 billion. Deposits grew 15 percent to $ 26.9 billion.

The company said its mortgage banking activity was “unusually strong.”

Noninterest income, which includes revenue from fees and other sources, more than doubled to $ 72.3 million.

Total revenue increased 18 percent, to $ 370.3 million from $ 313.9 million. Analysts expected $ 365.1 million.

First Republic’s provision for loan losses, or the amount of money it set aside to cover soured loans, fell by more than half to $ 6.5 million.

Also on Monday, the company boosted its quarterly cash dividend by 2 cents to 12 cents. The dividend will be paid on May 15 to shareholders of record as of May 1.

First Republic has about 70 offices in cities in California, New York and other states.

Shares fell $ 1.24, or 3.1 percent, to $ 38.76 amid a broader market downturn, with declines in most other financial stocks. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 1.9 percent in afternoon trading.


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