DuPont said it was looking to sell or spin off its performance chemicals unit to insulate itself from flagging sales of paint pigments that have weighed on its results.
DuPont, the largest U.S. chemical maker by market value, is looking to its food, energy and security businesses to lower reliance on the slow-growing industrial chemicals business.
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"We have been carefully weighing the strong cash generation of our performance chemicals businesses against their cyclicality and lower growth profile," DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement.
The company's performance chemicals unit generated total sales of $7.2 billion in 2012, or 20 percent of total sales.
The company's titanium dioxide paint business, part of the performance chemicals business, is the largest in the world and its sales are considered a barometer of broader economic health.
DuPont said it may pursue a different strategic alternative for each business within the performance chemicals unit.
The company also reported a 13 percent drop in net income to $1.03 billion, or $1.11 per share, in the second quarter, from $1.18 billion, or $1.23 per share, a year earlier.
Net sales at DuPont fell 1 percent to $9.8 billion.
(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath and Garima Goel in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)