DuPont Takes Down Guidance

It now sees fourth-quarter earnings of 10 cents a share.
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DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

says Hurricanes Katrina and Rita plus weak performance in three business lines will leave fourth-quarter earnings well below Wall Street estimates.

The

Dow

component expects to earn 10 cents a share in the quarter, down from its old estimate of 20 cents to 25 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were predicting earnings of 24 cents a share in the quarter on sales of $6.06 billion.

DuPont says the miss is equally attributable to power, logistics and product supply disruptions caused by the storm; unplanned production interruptions at plants in Brazil, the Netherlands and in the U.S.; and low sales and high costs in its crop-protection chemicals, performance coatings and surfaces segments.

The stock lost $1.04, or 2.4%, to $41.51 on Instinet. The price is 17.2 times the 2005 Thomson First Call consensus earnings estimate of $2.43 a share and 14.4 times next year's estimate of $2.89 a share. DuPont shares are up about 7% since the company set its now-withdrawn fourth-quarter guidance for earnings of 20 cents to 25 cents a share and set a $5 billion buyback in October.

DuPont said the operating problems in the fourth quarter will be partially offset by a tax rate that is below the 26% it previously estimated.