(Adds details from conference call; updates shares)
June 26 Chemicals maker DuPont cut its
operating profit forecast for the second quarter and the full
year, saying sales in its agriculture and performance chemicals
units increased at a slower pace than it had expected.
The company's shares fell about 4 percent in extended
DuPont has been focusing on its agriculture business, its
biggest, for the past few quarters.
The company, however, reported a rare quarterly decline in
sales at this unit in April as farmers in North America delayed
purchases due to an unusually harsh winter.
DuPont had then said it expected "significant" growth in the
unit's operating earnings in the second quarter ending June 30.
The company said on Thursday that corn seed sales in its
farm business were lower than expected, while seed inventory
write-downs were higher than anticipated.
The harsh winter also hit herbicide sales, the company said.
DuPont said it expected operating profit for the current
quarter to fall moderately from $1.28 per share a year earlier.
The company cut its operating profit forecast for the year
ending Dec. 31 to $4.00 per share from $4.10.
Analysts were expecting an operating profit of $1.46 per
share for the second quarter and of $4.30 per share for the full
year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
DuPont expects operating earnings in its agriculture
business to fall in low teens in percentage terms in the second
quarter, the company said on a conference call.
Corn pricing in North America is expected to be a bit lower
than its previous estimate, the company said.
DuPont said it expected returns of unused corn seeds in
Brazil to be higher than it had anticipated.
Lower refrigerant selling prices and weaker sales of floor
chemicals also hurt DuPont's performance chemicals business,
which is in the process of being hived off.
The spinoff is part of the company's strategy to move into
less volatile businesses. The chemicals unit has weighed on
DuPont's results since 2012, mainly due to weak prices for a
white pigment used in toothpastes, sunscreen and other products.
The company also said it expected to record a pretax
restructuring charge of about $270 million, or 20 cents per
share after tax, in the second quarter.
A number of chemical companies, including Dow Chemical Co
, have come under investor pressure to raise shareholder
returns by spinning off less stable units.
DuPont's shares closed at $67.70 on the New York Stock
Exchange on Thursday.
(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Simon
Jennings and Kirti Pandey)