DuPont Forecasts Higher 2016 Earnings

Industries Reuters

SWITZERLAND/

(Reuters)

Chemicals and seed producer DuPont forecast higher 2016 earnings, helped by aggressive cost-cutting to offset continued pressure from a strong dollar and weakness in its farm business.

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The company forecast full year operating earnings of $2.95-$3.10 per share, including an expected benefit of 64 cents per share from its cost cutting and restructuring plan.

DuPont and Dow Chemical are in the process of a merger that would create a company with an estimated combined market capitalization of about $130 billion as of Dec. 11, when the deal was announced. The companies plan to then break up into three separate standalone businesses.

"Our merger process is on track," DuPont Chief Executive Edward Breen said on Tuesday.

"We are meeting key milestones and have begun our planning to create three strong, highly focused, independent businesses in agriculture, material science and specialty products."

The company reported a quarterly profit of 27 cents per share, excluding items, that slightly beat analysts' average estimate of 26 cents.

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However, including restructuring and other charges of $622 million, the company reported a quarterly net loss.

Net loss attributable to the company was $253 million, or 29 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $683 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net sales fell 9.4 percent to $5.3 billion.

(Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)