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DuPont Earnings Rise, but Second Quarter Looks Weak

The company says higher energy costs will pressure its bottom line.
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DuPont's

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first-quarter earnings rose on a 14% jump in revenue, about half of which was attributable to currency benefits. The company warned, however, that second-quarter results would trail expectations because of ballooning energy costs.

The diversified chemical company said it earned $535 million, or 53 cents a share, which included a 3-cent accounting charge, in the latest quarter. A year ago, it lost $2.47 billion, or $2.46 a share, because of a big accounting charge. Before it, DuPont earned $479 million, or 48 cents a share.

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Sales were $7 billion, up from $6.1 billion a year ago, with a little more than half of the rise coming from volume improvement. The rest came from the benefits of a weaker dollar.

Among regions, U.S. sales rose 8% on 3% volume growth; European sales rose 24% on 8% volume growth; and Asia Pacific sales rose 25% on 22% volume growth.

Among segments, agriculture and nutrition sales rose 11% to $1.8 billion; coatings and color technologies sales rose 12% to $1.3 billion; electronic and communication-technologies sales rose 17% to $700 million; performance materials sales rose 15% to $1.3 billion; safety and protection sales rose 19% to $1 billion; and textile and interiors sales were $1.7 billion, reflecting 5% higher volume and a 6% benefit from the weaker dollar.

DuPont expects earnings in the "mid- to high 50 cents per share range," reflecting significantly higher energy expenses, as well as a higher pension expense. Analysts were looking for earnings of 63 cents a share.