DuPont earnings drop, could spin off chemical segments [video]

 (AP Photo/Steve Helber, file)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber, file)

Revenue for the Wilmington-based chemical giant fell 1 percent to $9.8 billion due to lower prices and volume declines in some business segments.  

In an earnings report issued today, the company said net income totaled just over $1 billion, or $1.11 per share, for the quarter ending June 30, compared to $1.16 billion, or $1.23 per share, for the same period last year.  

The company said lower prices for titanium dioxide and volume declines in some business segments contributed to a drop in second-quarter earnings. The company also said it is exploring the possible sale or spin-off of its performance chemicals business.

DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman says the performance chemicals unit is under strategic review. “Volumes in [titanium dioxide] are showing sequential improvement. We’re showing that marketplace bottoming out through its cycle,” Kullman said in a live satellite appearance on CNBC from WHYY’s Wilmington studio.  

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That unit makes up the “chemical of the DuPont company,” Kullman said. The performance chemicals unit contains the titanium dioxide business and the chemicals and fluroproducts businesses. “These are strong businesses, they have strong businesses. Low growth, but they are cyclical and they are volatile.”  

DuPont’s 115-acre Edgemoor facility near Wilmington operates a titanium dioxide production line, which is used in the paper and paint industry.

DuPont sold off its paint business in February as part of an ongoing transformation that has been in the works since 2009. “We’ve been looking at alternatives for our performance chemicals segment for a few months,” Kullman said.

As for the overall outlook, the company’s earlier expectations for full-year 2013 earnings per share of $3.85 still stands. The company expects about 60 percent of its 2013 second-half earnings per share to be earned in the fourth quarter.

The Associated Press reported that last week DuPont’s share price soared to its highest point in more than 13 years after a report that activist investor Nelson Peltz had taken a significant stake in the company.

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