DOVER, Del. (AP) - The DuPont Co. on Tuesday reported a sharp increase in its fourth-quarter profit and announced a new $5 billion share repurchase program.
DOVER, Del. (AP) — The DuPont Co. on Tuesday reported a sharp increase in its fourth-quarter profit and announced a new $5 billion share repurchase program.
Its adjusted results beat Wall Street expectations, and its shares rose in premarket trading.
"Our strong fourth quarter results reflect successful execution across the company against the backdrop of gradually improving global economy," said DuPont chairwoman and CEO Ellen Kullman.
The company pointed to volume growth and increased margins in reporting earnings of $185 million, or 20 cents per share, for the three months ending Dec. 31, up from $92 million, or 9 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2012.
DuPont's adjusted earnings of 59 cents per share beat the 55 cents per share consensus of Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet.
One-time items in the fourth quarter included a pretax charge of $197 million for settlement of damage claims related to DuPont's discontinued Imprelis weedkiller, bringing the total recorded charges for Imprelis claims to about $1.2 billion. The company also reported a pretax charge of $129 million for employee separation and asset-related charges involving its electronics and communications segment and strategic decisions related to the thin film photovoltaic market.
Sales rose 6 percent to $7.7 billion from $7.3 billion last year.
For the full year, DuPont earned $4.8 billion, or $5.19 per share, on sales of about $35.7 billion. The Wilmington, Del.-based chemical and biosciences company last year reported net income of about $2.8 billion, or $2.91 per share, on sales of about $34.8 billion.
DuPont said its board of directors authorized a $5 billion share repurchase program that will replace an existing repurchase program. The company expects to repurchase $2 billion in shares this year.
For the quarter, DuPont reported volume gains in all regions, including double-digit gains in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions. The volume gains offset lower local selling prices and negative currency effects.
DuPont's agriculture unit led performance with a 14 percent increase in volume and sales growth of 18 percent. The unit reported operating earnings of $88 million versus an operating loss of $77 million a year ago. The company cited strong insecticide sales in Latin America and earlier seed shipments but noted that, because of the timing of seed shipments, significant operating earnings were realized in the fourth quarter of last year instead of the first quarter of this year.
DuPont said it expects full-year 2014 operating earnings of $4.20 to $4.45 per share, up 8 to 15 percent compared to 2013. Analysts expect $4.33 per share.
Its shares rose $1.06, or 1.8 percent, to $61.31 in premarket trading.