DuPont ( DD) shares slipped Tuesday even though the chemicals maker reported higher first-quarter profit.

The Delaware-based company had net income of $668 million, or 66 cents per share, up about 25% from the year-ago period, when it earned $535 million, or 53 cents a share. Excluding items, DuPont earned 96 cents a share, which just beat the consensus estimate of 95 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.

Special items amounted to an after-tax charge of $296 million, or 30 cents a share, vs. $51 million, or 5 cents a share, in the 2003 period.

Revenue rose 15% to $8.1 billion from $7 billion a year ago, thanks partly to the weak dollar. DuPont said all of its operating units managed double-digit growth during the period.

The company repeated that the sale of its Invista textile unit to privately-held Koch Industries will close April 30, producing an after-tax gain of $4.1 billion. Most of the money will be used to pay down debt.

DuPont is in the midst of a major restructuring program announced last December, which is expected to achieve $900 million in savings in 2005. The company recently said it would cut 3,500 jobs, or about 6% of its workforce, as part of the plan.

That will result in a charge of 17 cents to 19 cents a share in the second quarter. Excluding that and other items, the company expects to earn 78 cents a share, which matches the consensus forecast. For full-year 2004, DuPont forecasts EPS minus items of $2.10 to $2.30, below the consensus view of $2.33.

Among the changes announced in December, DuPont said it will leverage and center its staff functions, support services, and manufacturing operations; consolidate product lines by at least 20% to improve variable margins; and increase its focus on emerging markets, especially China.

Shares fell 25 cents, or 0.8%, to $44.64.

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