DuPont (DD) - Get Report beat third-quarter targets, citing solid cost control and margin gains.

The Wilmington, Del., chemicals giant made $485 million, or 52 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, reversing the year-ago loss of $82 million, or 9 cents a share. Excluding items, earnings rose to 49 cents from 33 cents a year ago.

Revenue rose 7% from a year ago to $6.31 billion, reflecting 3% higher local prices, 3% higher volume, and a 1% currency effect. Asia Pacific volume grew 11%.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 45-cent profit on sales of $6.13 billion.

Raw material costs were $180 million higher than third quarter last year despite lower market prices for U.S. natural gas, but were fully offset by selling price increases.

Fixed costs were lower than last year and continued the company's trend of decreasing fixed costs as a percentage of sales.

"We delivered strong results by executing our growth strategies and productivity initiatives," said CEO Charles O. Holliday Jr. "Continued pricing momentum, customer-driven product innovations, and cost control generated revenue gains, profit growth and margin expansion. We are on track for a strong second half."

The company said it expects to make $2.86 a share for the year, matching the Thomson Financial target.