DuPont's Sales Rise 10%

The company's earnings top analysts' estimates in the second quarter.
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posted an increase in second-quarter earnings, citing cost controls and a strong performance from its agriculture and nutrition unit.

The Wilmington, Del., company earned $675 million, or 67 cents a share, up from $543 million, or 54 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Excluding items, DuPont earned $623 million, or 62 cents a share, vs. $711 million, or 71 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were expecting 57 cents a share.

Sales rose 10% from last year to $7.4 billion. DuPont cited higher selling prices and a benefit from currency-exchange rates.

DuPont said its agriculture and nutrition and safety and protection units had double-digit revenue and earnings growth during the quarter, which helped offset higher raw material costs in the textiles and interiors and performance-materials businesses.

For the full year, the company said recent month-to-month results for its businesses don't suggest "a clear inflection point in U.S. demand for manufactured goods."

Analysts' full-year estimates range from $1.60 to $2.10 a share, with a consensus of $1.83 a share. DuPont said if U.S. industrial production doesn't grow until late in the second half of the year, it expects earnings at the lower end of analysts' range.

However, if growth in U.S. industrial production is "early and robust," the company said earnings would be toward the middle of analysts' projections. DuPont earned $2 a share last year.

The company also said it expects to return to double-digit year-over-year volume growth in Asia in the second half of 2003. Shares of DuPont closed at $44.39 Monday.