What Happened to DuPont in the Third Quarter?

When one of the oldest, most diversified companies in the United States releases less than stellar earnings, it tends to have an impact on the entire market. That's exactly what happened in today's trading, when DuPont (NYSE: DD  ) displayed a 9% drop in sales versus the same quarter in 2011. Citing lower Chinese infrastructure spending, the company missed analysts' $8.15 billion revenue estimate by $750 million.

To address these poor results, DuPont will trim 2% of its workforce in a restructuring program aimed at improving productivity, competitiveness, and growth. Savings of $450 million are expected to be realized, with $100 million coming in 2012 and the remainder in 2013. These cuts are one of the more drastic measures we've seen a company take so far this earnings season.

The company's individual divisions had mixed reviews, and their performance could be telling for more specialized chemical companies that aren't nearly as diverse and might not be able to absorb such negative impacts as DuPont is able to do. Two companies that come to mind are Kronos Worldwide (NYSE: KRO  ) and Huntsman (NYSE: HUN  ) .

See more in the following video.

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Joel South, Taylor Muckerman, and The Motley Fool have no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend First Solar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On October 23, 2012, at 8:02 PM, funfundvierzig wrote:

    DuPont is indeed "...one of the oldest, most diversified companies in the United States. And hence lies the problem. The hodgepodge of products and businesses of this sprawling, disconnected conglomerate has not been and cannot be competently directed by DuPont's outstandingly mediocre Management.

    Second, many of DuPont's industrial materials have been around a half-century or more. Take DuPont's plastic Corian (the look of the 1980's) or Tyvek home insulation or Nomex or Teflon. These materials have become commodities. We cannot recall a recent high-profit blockbuster product or breakthrough technology coming out of DuPont's once fabled R & D labs.

    ...funfun..

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