It's now my pleasure to turn the call over to Ellen Kullman.Ellen Kullman Great. Thank you, Karen. DuPont turned in a strong third quarter with underlying earnings of $0.69 per share. Double-digit sales increases in all segments and regions and our relentless focus on execution contributed to these outstanding results. Our Agriculture and Nutrition & Health segments, which represent nearly 1/3 of DuPont annual sales, benefited from strong secular demands related to food and production agriculture. Latin American volume was up 17%, with a strong start to their planting season and demand for our high-performing products and services. Auto builds were up 5% in the quarter, but we saw an interesting dynamic with respect to the 2 businesses that primarily serve that market. Performance Coatings grew volume 4% on part due to higher OEM build rate, while at the same time, Performance Polymers had a volume decline with automotive supply chain destocking to ensure lean inventories at year end. Industrial markets were mixed with certain businesses very strong and others experiencing a pause as customers wait for a clearer view of the economy to emerge. Against this backdrop, we executed very well, capitalizing on certain growth markets, our strength and innovation and aggressive productivity. These were major contributors to the quarter. We continued to strengthen our position versus secular themes in agriculture, nutrition, alternative energy, safety and protection. We've expanded our footprint in the developing markets, which represents about 1/3 of the company's sales year-to-date. We remain focused on customers in all our markets, delivering high-value products and services, now all the while, understanding downstream demand signals and planning accordingly. We remain focused on productivity and are well ahead of our 2011 goals of $300 million in benefit in each of fixed cost and working capital productivity. [Audio Gap] Nicholas C. Fanandakis environment.
Now I'd like to review the details of the quarter, pointing out our accomplishments versus goals, starting with Slide 3, which is a summary of earnings per share and sales results. Earnings per share were $0.69 on an underlying basis, compared to $0.40 in the prior year. Consolidated net sales of $9.2 billion were up 32% versus the prior year, comprised of 15% positive local price, 12% benefit from portfolio changes, which primarily related to the Danisco acquisition, 4% currency benefit and 1% volume gains. All segments had double-digit sales increases. Volume was especially strong in our Ag segment, with a strong early start to the sales season in the southern hemisphere. Local currency prices were up double digits in all regions, continuing to reflect our strong pricing discipline.Now let's turn to the corporate view of the third quarter, looking at earnings per share variance analysis on Slide 4. Starting with price and variable costs, the quarter showed a net benefit of $0.37 per share. This reflects the difference between price and variable costs, excluding the impact of currency and volume. Driven by our innovation and pricing discipline, we continue to be successful implementing price increases by pricing our new products for the enhanced value that they deliver. Excluding volume, currency and portfolio impacts, third quarter raw material energy and freight costs were up about 17% versus last year's third quarter. For the full year, we expect this to be an increase of 12% to 13% over 2010, with significantly higher costs again in the fourth quarter. We don't expect to see the impact of moderating raw material prices until 2012. Volume improvement resulted in incremental earnings benefit of $0.07 per share compared to the previous year. This excludes the impact of Danisco, which is shown separately on the chart. Ag volumes were especially strong this quarter, with an early start to the southern hemisphere season, and on a year-to-date basis, total company volumes are up 4%.
Continuing with the variance analysis, let's move to fixed cost. Excluding currency, volume and portfolio impacts, fixed cost reduced earnings by $0.21 per share versus last year. This includes actions in the third quarter to support growth such as investments in ag, the new Kevlar plant at Cooper River, TiO2 expansions along with R&D and specific marketing initiatives.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com