DuPont 1Q Profit Tops View, Sales Inline

DuPont’s (NYSE:DD) net income more than doubled in the first quarter, as the chemical maker posted higher revenue and a larger profit from discontinued operations.

The diversified U.S. manufacturer, which also makes solar panels, reported a profit of $3.35 billion, or $3.58 a share, well above a year-earlier profit of $1.49 billion, or $1.58 a share. Operating earnings were $1.56 a share, down from $1.64 a share.

Net sales rose 2.2% to $10.41 billion on volume growth, as a 1% increase in local prices was offset by a currency impact.

Analysts were looking for per-share operating earnings of $1.52 a share and revenue of $10.41 billion.

Gross margin narrowed to 31.7% from 33%, while total costs and expenses rose 4%.

DuPont also announced a 5% dividend hike.

During the latest period, DuPont closed a deal to sell a performance-coatings unit to private equity firm Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) for $4.9 billion.

Last month, DuPont agreed to pay Monsanto (NYSE:MON) $1.75 billion for a set of licensing agreements related to genetically modified seed technology. The two companies had been locked in a patent dispute but agreed to dismiss the $1 billion awarded by a jury to Monsanto, which accused DuPont of patent infringement. Under the licensing agreements, DuPont can use Monsanto’s technologies in its own corn and soybean seeds.

In the first quarter, DuPont’s agricultural segment saw its sales climb 14%. The performance chemicals segment posted a 17% decline in sales.

Shares of DuPont were up 3% at $51.92 in late morning trading Tuesday.