DuPont reports drop in quarterly earnings

Agriculture unit led company's performance

DuPont saw a sharp drop in its fourth-quarter income, yet still beat the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts of 7 cents per share on revenue of $7.2 billion.

The chemical and biosciences company reported January 22 that its net income fell to $111 million, or 12 cents per share, for the last three months of 2012. That is down 70 percent from $373 million, or 40 cents per share, from the same time in 2011. Revenue for the quarter was flat at $7.3 billion.

The company’s fourth-quarter performance was led by the agricultural unit, which saw sales increase 18 percent to $1.5 billion on 11 percent higher volumes and 7 percent higher prices, according to the company. Full-year sales for the agricultural unit were up 14 percent to $10.4 billion on 8 percent higher volume and 6 percent higher prices. Sales of DuPont’s Pioneer seeds were helped by higher global volume and pricing gains in corn and soybeans. Additionally, strong demand for insecticides and herbicides resulted in increased sales of crop protection products. The company said agriculture will remain a key focus in its growth plans.