Diversified chemicals manufacturer and Dow-30 component DuPont (DD -Free DuPont Stock Report) has reported its second-quarter earnings. The company posted total sales of $7.061 billion, off slightly from the prior-year figure. Modest volume growth was more than offset by pricing softness, currency effects, and an unfavorable portfolio mix. However, expenses declined, and operating earnings per share of $1.24 easily surpassed the prior-year tally of $1.08. GAAP earnings per share of $1.16 also increased nicely. The company's cost savings and restructuring plan continues to benefit the bottom line.
Growth in operating earnings was strongest at the Industrial Biosciences and Nutrition & Health businesses, though the Agriculture and Performance Materials lines also posted healthy advances. Product introductions in home and personal care markets and greater demand for biomaterials supported performance at the Industrial Biosciences segment. However, this was offset by lower CleanTech volumes. Still, cost savings here drove the bottom line higher. The Nutrition & Health line also benefited from lower expenses, as well as strong volume growth led by its probiotics and specialty proteins offerings. The Agriculture business gained from increased corn seed and insecticide volumes, though this was partly offset by a decline in soybean volumes. The Performance Materials line experienced greater demand in automotive markets and higher volumes for ethylene. Results were less favorable at the Protection Solutions and Electronics & Communications businesses.
Also noteworthy, DuPont's pending merger with Dow Chemical is one step closer to reality. Shareholders of both companies voted on July 20th to approve all proposals necessary to complete the transaction. Subject to all necessary regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Looking forward, macroeconomic unevenness will probably further constrain the top-line in the coming quarters. Efforts to control costs should continue to benefit earnings per share, though. We believe the Industrial Biosciences and Nutrition & Health businesses will remain performance drivers here. We are leaving our estimates unchanged, and continue to expect Du Pont to report sales and share earnings of $24.5 billion and $3.20, respectively.
About The Company: DuPont is engaged in science and technology in a range of disciplines, including high performance materials, electronics, safety and security, and biotechnology. The company operates on a global scale, manufacturing a wide range of products for distribution and sale to many different markets, including automotive, construction, agricultural, medical, protective apparel, electronics and nutrition.