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DuPont Tops Q1 Estimates, Maintains Earnings Outlook on Q2 (DD)

Chemical giant, DuPont (NYSE: DD) said on Tuesday that fiscal first quarter’s net income jumped more than two times, as revenue was bolstered by strong demand for its protection crops and drought resilient seeds. The U.S. suffered one of the worst summers last year which increased the demand for drought resistant seeds, which DuPont develops.

In addition, higher prices fetched by wheat, corn and soybean producers in Americas, also boosted the demand for DuPont’s products, offsetting declining demand for titanium dioxide, which is used as a pigment in tooth paste and paints. Titanium dioxide was once DuPont’s most lucrative product.

However, DuPont said that it expects the demand for titanium dioxide will improve in coming months.

For the fiscal first quarter, DuPont said that sales in agricultural division soared 14% while sales in performance chemical division fell 17%.

Net income during the period stood at $3.35 billion or $3.58 a share compared to a profit of $1.49 billion or $1.58 a share, in the year-earlier quarter.  The recently concluded quarter included a onetime gain of 2 cents a share, linked to income tax and customer claims, compared to a charge of 4 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Operating earnings stood at $1.56 a share compared to $1.64 a share, in the same quarter of last year.

Net sales during the period rose about 2% to $10.5 billion, driven mainly by rise in sales-volume.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, were expecting earnings of $1.52 a share on revenue of $10.41 billion.

Gross margin contracted to 31.7% from 33%, in the year-earlier quarter.

Total costs and expenses jumped 4% in the recently concluded quarter.

The Company raised its quarterly dividend by 5% or 2 cents to 45 cents a share and maintained its earnings guidance for fiscal 2013. The Company is expecting earnings of $3.85 to $4.05 a share compared to $3.77 a share, posted in the year-earlier quarter.

Shares were gaining 3.65% by afternoon trade.

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