Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- DuPont Co., the most valuable U.S. chemical maker, posted fourth-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates after prices for the company’s titanium- dioxide pigment advanced.
Net income fell 0.8 percent to $373 million, or 40 cents a share, from $376 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier, Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont said today in a statement. Profit excluding a gain from a sale of a business was 35 cents, topping the 33-cent average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales rose 14 percent to $8.43 billion from $7.4 billion. The average of 10 analysts’ estimates was for revenue of $8.53 billion.
DuPont has exceeded analysts’ estimates for earnings in each of the 12 quarters Ellen Kullman has been chief executive officer. Profit rose 37 percent at the performance-chemicals unit, the world’s biggest maker of titanium dioxide. Prices for the white pigment used to add opacity to paints and plastic have climbed amid globally tight supplies of titanium ore.
“Titanium dioxide was the driver of the quarter,” Hassan Ahmed, a New York-based analyst at Alembic Global Advisors who rates the shares “neutral,” said yesterday in a telephone interview.
DuPont dropped 0.1 percent to $49.35 yesterday in New York. The shares have gained 7.8 percent this year, giving the company a market capitalization of $45.6 billion.
Kullman is expanding production of titanium-dioxide, Kevlar used in bullet-proof clothing, solar materials and engineered crop seeds to boost per-share earnings by about 12 percent a year through 2015. In June, DuPont completed its $7.1 billion takeover of Copenhagen-based Danisco A/S, the world’s biggest producer of food additives and the second-largest maker of industrial enzymes used to make biofuels.
--Editors: Simon Casey, Jasmina Kelemen
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