* Food value chain, population growth boost outlook
* Majority of R&D spending now tied to agriculture
By Christine Stebbins
DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct 13 U.S. chemicals giant
DuPont (DD.N) sees big growth opportunities ahead in its
agricultural sector as the world's population expands 30
percent and food needs double by 2050.
"As we take a look at the value chains and what is going on
around the world with population growth, we see agriculture as
being a tremendous opportunity," DuPont Chief Executive Officer
Ellen Kullman told reporters here on Thursday during the World
Food Prize meetings.
"I'm a big believer in the sector -- it's an important
sector for us," she said.
DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred, acquired in 1999 and
headquartered in Des Moines, is the world's largest producer of
seed for corn and many other crops. It sells seeds in 90
Revenues from DuPont's agricultural businesses, which
include seeds, crop chemicals, food packaging, protection and
specialty food ingredients, accounted for 29 percent of its
second quarter sales of $10.3 billion.
But agricultural sales accounted for 43 percent of the
company's pre-tax earnings of $1.9 billion in the quarter.
Ag-related sales in the quarter, which ended June 30, rose
4 percent by volume with prices up by 6 percent, according to
Earnings from its agriculture-related products could grow
to half of DuPont's revenues with its takeover of Danish food
ingredients and biofuels maker Danisco.
That is a big change for the company that invented nylon
and supplied gunpowder during World War I.
"We are really having a lot of fun as we integrate Danisco
and seeing the power that having everything from seed all the
way through specialty food ingredients can bring to that
marketplace," Kullman said.
Kullman said DuPont now invests $1.7 billion annually on
research and development, with more than 60 percent of that
tied to crop and food production.
Of that, the single biggest portion goes to seed and
biotech followed by crop protection chemicals, the company