E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and (DD)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 19, 2012 9:00 am ET

Executives

Karen A. Fletcher - Vice President of Investor Relations

Ellen J. Kullman - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Nicholas C. Fanandakis - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Principal Accounting Officer

James C. Borel - Executive Vice President

Analysts

Donald Carson - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Michael J. Ritzenthaler - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Mark W. Connelly - Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc., Research Division

Kevin W. McCarthy - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Lucy Watson - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Frank J. Mitsch - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

David L. Begleiter - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Brian Maguire - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Vincent Andrews - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

P.J. Juvekar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Jeffrey J. Zekauskas - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Edward H. Yang - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Andrew W. Cash - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Duffy Fischer - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good morning. My name is John, and I will be your conference operator for today's call. At this time, I would now like to welcome everyone to the DuPont First Quarter Investor Call. [Operator Instructions] To listen to the webcast, please go to www.dupont.com. Thank you.

It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to your host, Karen Fletcher, Vice President of Investor Relations. Karen, you may begin.

Karen A. Fletcher

Thanks, John. Good morning, and welcome. With me this morning are Ellen Kullman, Chair and CEO; Nick Fanandakis, CFO; and Jim Borel, Executive Vice President. The slides for today's call can be found in our website at dupont.com, along with the news release that was issued earlier today.

During the course of this conference call, we will make forward-looking statements, and I direct you to Slide 2 for our disclaimers. All statements that address expectations or projections about the future are forward-looking statements. Although they reflect our current expectations, these statements are not guarantees of future performance but involve a number of risk and assumptions. We urge you to review DuPont's SEC filings for a discussion of some of the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially.

We will also refer to non-GAAP measures and ask that you refer to the reconciliations to GAAP statements provided with the earnings news release and on our website. As a reminder, our comments on today's call regarding segment earnings are on an underlying basis. And finally, we've posted supplemental information on the website that we hope is helpful to your understanding of our company's performance.

It's now my pleasure to turn the call over to Ellen.

Ellen J. Kullman

Great. Thank you, Karen, and good morning, everyone. DuPont delivered strong results in the first quarter in line with our expectation at a time when markets were mixed.

Sales were up 12%, with 5% organic growth and 7% from acquisitions. We had excellent price performance in the quarter, driven in part by new product introductions, which were up more than 50% versus prior year. Not surprisingly, Pioneer had one of the largest year-over-year increases in its area. Productivity projects are tracking well across our businesses. The strength of our portfolio, coupled with very sharp execution, drove double-digit growth in sales and operating income this quarter.

With respect to key markets, Agriculture is strong, with favorable farmer economics, increased corn acres in Europe and North America and outstanding momentum from our business in 2011 carrying into this year. Global auto builds were up 4% in the quarter, with North America builds up 17% according to the third-party market data that we used.

In photovoltaics, we expect destocking to end in the second quarter, and the industry will resume a more balanced production schedule. Consumer electronics is improving, and growth is very much a function of new application introductions, such as next-generation smartphones and tablets.

For industrial markets, our Performance Chemical, Performance Materials and Safety & Protection segment volumes were down versus very strong comps in the prior year. Sequentially, volumes improved even when adjusting for seasonality while indicating -- I think this indicates a positive shift in momentum, and we anticipate these segments will return to year-over-year volume growth within the next 1 to 2 quarters.

We continue to win in our markets through innovation. Our customers are benefiting from DuPont's valuable and meaningful product differentiation that enables them to serve their own end markets better.

Here are just a couple of examples of DuPont's latest value-added innovations: an expanded offering of Optimum AcreMax insect-resistant corn hybrids for our farmers this season; and a next-generation metallized paste that improves efficiency of a solar module. And we've had overwhelming response to our recent introduction of Solamet PV17.

I was in India last month and met with several customers, and I also had the chance to tour our research and development laboratories in Hyderabad and the newest DuPont innovation center in Pune. Like our other innovation centers, this one engages our customers and allows our teams to truly engage in meaningful product and design opportunities to help differentiate them in their markets. And in turn, DuPont's rewarded with a premium market position and greater customer loyalty.

What you should take away from the first quarter is that we're off to a good start for the year. We expected slow sequential improvement, and that is what we're seeing. DuPont's well positioned in our markets, and we're executing with focus and discipline. Despite challenging conditions in certain markets, we delivered 12% growth in operating income this quarter.

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