UPDATE 1-DuPont boosts 2012 outlook; to buy back $1 bln in stock

Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:59pm EST

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Chemical maker DuPont boosted its 2012 forecast and announced a $1 billion stock buy-back on Tuesday, a positive sign that demand has begun to improve slightly for the company's Kevlar, Corian and other products.

The company will pay for the buy back with proceeds from the sale of its slow-growing car paint business to Carlyle Group LP for $4.9 billion cash.

The deal has yet to close and when it does, DuPont said it will use $1 billion to buy back stock in 2013.

The buy-back, along with the positive comments around the guidance, helped push DuPont's shares up 2 percent to $44.58 in after-hours trading.

The chemical company now expects earnings this year at the high end of a range between $3.25 and $3.30 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $3.29 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

DuPont slashed its guidance in October, previously expecting to earn at least $3.79 per share. That had analysts expecting the worse, but Tuesday's comments about earnings at the "high end" of the forecast suggest the situation is not as bad as feared.

"While we are seeing indications that market conditions are firming up in some areas, volatility and uncertainty also persist," Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement.

However, the company's titanium dioxide (Ti02) sales remain weak, executives said. Ti02 is a key paint pigment.

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