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DuPont 1Q Earnings Rise

Dupont raised its 2011 guidance after double-digit sales growth across all business segments and geographic regions boosted earnings.

DOVER, Delaware (AP) -- Dupont raised its 2011 earnings guidance Thursday after double-digit sales growth across all of its business segments and geographic regions boosted first-quarter earnings.

The company reported net income of $1.43 billion, or $1.52 per share for the quarter ending March 31, up from $1.13 billion, or $1.24 per share, for the first quarter of last year.

That easily beat predictions of $1.37 per share on Wall Street, according to a poll by FactSet.

Revenue jumped 18 percent to $10 billion, with DuPont marking its fifth consecutive quarter of pricing gains. Results were partly offset by a $171 million pretax decline in pharmaceutical income because of expiring patents.

The Dupont Co. increased its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $3.65 to $3.85 per share, up from $3.45 to $3.75 per share.

"Our top-line growth and productivity results support our confidence in raising the full-year earnings outlook," said CEO and chairwoman Ellen Kullman.

The outlook excludes the impact of its planned acquisition of a Danish food additives maker Danisco, which the company says could trim full-year earnings by 30 to 45 cents per share.

Last month, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services gave favorable ratings to DuPont's $2 billion bond offering to help finance the $5.8 billion deal. That could change after the deal closes, however, because of the debt the company would take on.

For the quarter, DuPont, based in Wilmington, Delaware, saw sales jump 30 percent in Latin America and 28 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.

Among the company's business platforms, volume growth was led by a 14 percent increase in the safety and protection unit and 13 percent gain in the agriculture and nutrition segment.

Having struggled recently to keep pace with the company's other business units, DuPont's performance coatings segment, which sells products ranging from automobile refinishings to industrial coatings and commercial vehicle finishes, saw sales grow 10 percent on higher volumes.

"Global automotive markets improved primarily due to a significant increase in North American auto builds," the company said. "Strong demand continued in industrial coatings, particularly in the North American heavy-duty truck market."

DuPont's performance chemicals and electronics and communications units led the company in sales growth, primarily due to pricing gains of 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The company said strong global demand for titanium dioxide, refrigerants and fluoroproducts allowed for strong pricing on performance chemicals.

DuPont had to increase prices in its electronics and communications unit due to higher metal prices, but the segment posted a 9 percent increase in volume, driven by strong demand in the solar industry and consumer electronics in the Asia-Pacific region.

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