"Change" isn't just the latest political mantra; it's also gaining prominence in the corporate world, as companies try to navigate the swirling economic storms. DuPont
In its most recent quarter, DuPont raised its operating income by 8% and its revenue by 12%. The big movers during the quarter were sales in the agriculture and nutrition segment, as well as in emerging markets (like Caterpillar
But DuPont's release of results and follow-up call was enhanced by a cogent discussion from CEO Charles Holliday, Jr., on four industries now experiencing difficulties (three of which he expects to return to their former ways), and how DuPont will adapt to each as they move forward:
- Housing. Holliday expects DuPont's energy-saving materials and solutions for the construction industry to generate increased value for DuPont as housing recovers.
- The U.S. automotive industry. The CEO expects the industry to recover, and says DuPont polymers will aid the construction of smaller and more energy-efficient vehicles.
- Banking. Until and even after banking recovers, Holliday believes that DuPont's balance sheet and "good cash discipline" will help the company seize attractive growth opportunities.
"Everything that comes from the earth." Holliday doesn't expect this area, which involves a host of agricultural and minerals products, to return to the lower pricing patterns of yesteryear. But as he notes, the company is "even better positioned with the right suite of products to grow ... in value in the next five years." In that area, DuPont is working with BP
(NYSE:BP)and Denmark's Danisco to develop new alternative fuel applications.
DuPont's one major corporation successfully navigating our world's stream of major changes. Its past quarter was a good one, and I'm awaiting Thursday's release from competitor Dow Chemical
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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't have financial positions in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your comments. Dow Chemical is an Income Investor recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.