DuPont profit climbs on higher prices and agriculture sales

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

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DuPont profit climbs on higher prices and agriculture sales
DuPont posted higher profits and revenue for the first quarter of 2012, citing higher prices and increased sales in developing markets, as well as continuing benefit from last year’s acquisition of Danish specialty ingredients firm Danisco.

The company reported net income of $1.49bn for the quarter, or $1.57 a share, up from $1.43bn, or $1.52 a share, for the prior year period.

Meanwhile, sales rose 12% to $11.2bn, largely driven by gains in the company’s agriculture segment – its largest business unit. Agriculture sales were $4.1bn during the quarter, up 16% on a year earlier, with half the increase due to higher prices and half due to higher volumes, the company said.

"We are prioritizing our R&D portfolio to deliver food, energy and protection solutions for the world's growing population,”said DuPont chair and CEO Ellen Kullman.

Among its R&D investments, the company has said it intends to invest over $10bn in food and nutrition research and development over the next nine years, equivalent to just over $1.1bn per year – around a 38% increase compared to the $800m DuPont invested in research and development in these areas in 2011.

"DuPont's market-driven science and commitment to innovation and productivity are winning in key markets, despite economic headwinds early in the first quarter,"Kullman said.

The company has sought to increase its role in food and nutrition, in agriculture R&D investment as well as with the acquisition of Danisco, and sales of $288m in Industrial Biosciences reflect the contribution of Danisco’s enzyme business, DuPont said. In addition, it said sales of $808m in its Nutrition and Health segment were driven by the acquisition of Danisco’s specialty food ingredient business.

DuPont also reaffirmed its 2012 earnings forecast of $4.20 to $4.40 a share, an increase of 7-12% on 2011.

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