DuPont (NYSE: DD), a science company that brings world-class, innovative products, materials, and services to the global marketplace, today announced first-quarter 2017 GAAP1 earnings of $1.52 per share and operating earnings2 of $1.64 per share. Prior year GAAP1 and operating earnings2 were $1.39 per share and $1.26 per share, respectively.
First-quarter sales were $7.7 billion, up 5 percent versus prior year on a 4-percent benefit from volume and a 1-percent benefit from local price. Volume grew in almost all segments, led by Performance Materials, Electronics & Communications and Agriculture. Agriculture sales were positively impacted by the change in timing of seed deliveries which benefitted first quarter sales by approximately $140 million. This timing change benefitted total company net sales by 2 percent in the quarter.
“Our team delivered strong operational performance in the first quarter, growing operating EPS by 30 percent,” said Ed Breen, Chairman and CEO. “The strength of our new product introductions and increased demand in key markets together resulted in top-line increases in almost every business. We also made significant progress on key milestones in the merger with Dow, including receipt of conditional approval from the European Commission and an agreement with FMC to divest certain crop protection assets and acquire substantially all of its Health & Nutrition segment. We continue to expect to close the merger in August of this year and quickly begin working on the 500-plus projects already identified to deliver the targeted $3 billion in cost synergies.”
- GAAP1 earnings per share increased 9 percent to $1.52 from $1.39 in prior year. Operating earnings2 per share increased 30 percent to $1.64 from $1.26 in prior year.
- Sales of $7.7 billion increased 5 percent on a 4-percent benefit from volume and a 1-percent benefit from local price. Sales grew in most segments, led by Agriculture, Performance Materials, and Electronics & Communications.
- Agriculture sales increased 4 percent reflecting benefits from local price and volume. Pricing growth was driven by double-digit gains in Latin America, the launch of new soybean varieties in North America and increased sunflower seed sales in Europe. Volume growth was driven by the change in timing of seed deliveries and increased insecticide and sunflower seed volumes, partially offset by lower expected corn acreage in North America.
- Total company gross margin expanded by more than 80 basis points. Segment operating margins expanded by about 250 basis points, led by improvements in Electronics & Communications, Performance Materials and Agriculture.
- Free cash flow3 improved over $200 million.
- DuPont expects first-half 2017 GAAP1 earnings per share of about $2.42, a decrease of about 5 percent versus prior year. First-half 2017 operating earnings2 per share are expected to be about $2.90, an increase of about 16 percent versus prior year.
The following is a summary of business results for each of the company’s reportable segments comparing first quarter with the prior year, unless otherwise noted.
Agriculture – First-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $1,236 million increased $135 million, or 12 percent, on local price and volume growth. Pricing growth was realized by double-digit increases in Brazil driven by the company’s newest corn hybrids and increased sunflower seed sales in Europe. Volume growth was driven by an approximately $140 million benefit from the change in timing of seed deliveries, increased insecticides and sunflower seed sales partially offset by a decrease in expected corn acreage in North America. Operating margins expanded by about 240 basis points.
Electronics & Communications – First-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $89 million increased $30 million, or 51 percent, on volume growth and the absence of a $16 million prior year litigation expense. Volume growth was driven by increased demand in consumer electronics and semiconductor markets, as well as stronger photovoltaic material sales. Operating earnings included a gain on the sale of a business offset by costs associated with a legal matter. Operating margins expanded by 440 basis points.
Industrial Biosciences – First-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $75 million increased $12 million, or 19 percent, on volume growth, improved joint venture performance and cost savings, partially offset by declines in CleanTech. Volume growth reflected increased demand for biomaterials in apparel and carpeting and bioactives in the grain processing market. Operating margins expanded by about 250 basis points.
Nutrition & Health – First-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $121 million increased $17 million, or 16 percent, on plant productivity, mix enrichment and cost savings. Volume growth in probiotics and emulsifiers was offset by declines in protein solutions and systems and texturants. Operating margins expanded by 235 basis points.
Performance Materials - First-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $355 million increased $82 million, or 30 percent, driven by higher volumes and cost savings. Increased demand for polymers in automotive markets, specialty copolymers growth in packaging and timing benefits from the second quarter 2017 drove increased volumes. Overall volume growth was constrained by lower ethylene sales as the business prepares for a planned turnaround of the ethylene cracker in the second quarter. Operating margins expanded by about 410 basis points.
Protection Solutions – First-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $177 million increased $1 million, or 1 percent, as volume growth and cost savings offset higher raw material costs, unfavorable mix and lower plant productivity. Volume growth reflected improved demand for Nomex® thermal-resistant fiber in oil and gas and mass transportation markets partially offset by declines in Kevlar® high-strength materials, Tyvek® protective materials and surfaces. Operating margins contracted by 45 basis points.
First-Half 2017 Outlook
The company expects first-half 2017 GAAP1 earnings per share of about $2.42, a decrease of about 5 percent from prior year. First-half 2017 operating earnings2 per share are expected to be about $2.90, an increase of about 16 percent versus prior year primarily driven by sales growth. The increase in sales is due to the impact of the change in timing of seed deliveries, primarily related to the southern U.S route-to-market change in Agriculture, and strength in global automotive markets. These benefits are anticipated to be partially offset by the expected reduction in planted corn acres in North America and higher product costs in Performance Materials and Agriculture.
The company’s first-half 2017 GAAP1 earnings includes an expected net charge of about $0.32 per share for significant items primarily related to transaction costs associated with the planned merger with Dow. Prior year GAAP1 earnings included a net benefit of $0.20 per share from significant items, primarily due to a gain on the sale of an entity.
DuPont will hold a conference call and webcast on Tuesday, Apr. 25, 2017, at 8:00 AM ET to discuss this news release. The webcast and additional presentation materials can be accessed by visiting the company’s investor website (Events & Presentations) at www.investors.dupont.com. A replay of the conference call webcast will be available for 90 days by calling 1-630-652-3042, Passcode 6328583#. For additional information see the investor center at http://www.dupont.com.
Use of Non-GAAP Measures
This earnings release includes information that does not conform to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and are considered non-GAAP measures. These measures include the company’s consolidated results and earnings per share on an operating earnings basis, which excludes significant items and non-operating pension and other post employment benefit costs (operating earnings and operating EPS), total segment pre-tax operating earnings, operating costs and corporate expenses on an operating earnings basis. Management uses these measures internally for planning, forecasting and evaluating the performance of the company’s segments, including allocating resources and evaluating incentive compensation. From a liquidity perspective, management uses free cash flow, which is defined as cash provided by/used for operating activities less purchases of property, plant and equipment. Free cash flow is useful to investors and management to evaluate the company’s cash flow and financial performance, and is an integral financial measure used in the company’s financial planning process. Management believes that these non-GAAP measurements are meaningful to investors as they provide insight with respect to ongoing operating results of the company and provide a more useful comparison of year-over-year results. These non-GAAP measurements supplement our GAAP disclosures and should not be viewed as an alternative to GAAP measures of performance. Reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to GAAP are provided in schedules A, C and D. Details of significant items are provided in schedule B.
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