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Diversified chemicals manufacturer and Dow-30 component Du Pont (DD- Free Du Pont Stock Report) has reported its third-quarter results. Sales of $4.917 billion were up modestly on a year-to-year basis. GAAP earnings per share of $0.01 were no match for the $0.14 earned in the prior-year period. But operating earnings per share of $0.34 increased nicely from $0.13. The discrepancy between GAAP and non-GAAP earnings per share was largely due to transactions costs associated with the planned merger with Dow Chemical and an impairment charge related to the write-down of intangible assets. Efforts to reduce costs supported growth in operating earnings.

The Agriculture business reported a lower seasonal operating loss. In the plus column, seed volumes and prices increased. However, this line also experienced lower crop protection prices as well as a decline in fungicide and insecticide volumes. Meanwhile, the Industrial Biosciences segment posted strong growth in operating earnings, as greater demand in bioactives and biomaterials more than offset lower volume in CleanTech. Elsewhere, the Nutrition & Health arm also reported an impressive bottom-line advance, led by broad-based volume gains in probiotics, cultures, and ingredient systems. The Performance Materials and Protection Solutions lines generated healthy growth in operating earnings, too. That said, results were less favorable at the Electronics & Communications business. Sales here were hurt by lower demand and continued weakness in consumer electronics, though operating earnings increased moderately thanks to cost savings.

Looking forward, we expect the Industrial Biosciences and Nutrition & Health businesses to remain performance drivers. We have increased our estimates for full-year 2016, and now anticipate revenues and share earnings of $25 billion and $3.25 per share, respectively. Bottom-line growth ought to continue at a nice pace from 2017 onward.

Also noteworthy, the company has been making progress preparing for its merger with Dow Chemical. It continues to work with regulators in major jurisdictions on this matter. Provided regulatory approval, the deal is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

About The Company: Du Pont 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.

At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.