DuPont reported fourth quarter and full-year 2005 earnings and projected early 2006 performance today.



Net income for the fourth quarter was $153 million, or $.16 per share. The compares to fourth-quarter 2004 net income was $278 million, or $.28 per share, including significant items totaling a net after-tax charge of $93 million, or $.09 per share.



Current quarter net income reflects the impact of prolonged disruptions to power, logistics and to production and sales resulting from Gulf Coast Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in addition to temporary unplanned production interruptions at three of the company's plants which are located in Brazil, The Netherlands and the United States.



Fourth quarter net income also reflects lower sales of crop protection products and higher costs. These negatives were partly offset by an income tax benefit recorded in the quarter, resulting from a lower full-year base income tax rate.



Consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter were $5.8 billion, down 3 percent versus the fourth quarter 2004, but were flat on a comparable business basis. Local selling prices were up 5 percent offsetting a 4 percent volume decline.



Hurricane-related production disruptions to U.S. plants affected sales in all regions. Excluding these production disruptions, worldwide volumes would have been flat and U.S. volumes up modestly.



Volumes in the Asia Pacific region were negatively affected by the hurricane impact and lower sales of crop protection chemicals attributable to lower insect pressure in the growing season.



Full-year 2005 earnings were $2.07 per share versus $1.77 in 2004. Before significant items, earnings per share in 2005 totaled $2.34 compared to $2.38 in 2004.



Agriculture and nutrition results



In the agriculture and nutrition area, operating income before income taxes decreased $147 million, with a current quarter seasonal loss of $272 million vs. a $125 million loss in the prior year. The decline reflects 5 percent lower worldwide volumes and higher costs.



Fourth quarter sales of $0.9 billion were down 6 percent, principally reflecting lower insecticide demand in Asia and lower herbicide sales in the United States. Cost of goods sold increased significantly as a result of higher raw material costs. Fixed costs were also higher, due in part to a production disruption at the segment's crop protection chemicals plant in Brazil.



Nine new products were introduced during the quarter, including new herbicide registrations for cereals and specialties. One hundred sixty-five new products were introduced during 2005.



Outlook



"We will continue to face challenging headwinds during 2006, and our priorities for the year are very clear. Each of the four improvement actions we announced on Nov. 7 are on or ahead of schedule," said Chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday Jr. "Our strategies and these actions are the right steps to accelerate creation of superior value for our customers and shareholders."



DuPont expects several factors to negatively impact first-quarter 2006 results versus the first quarter 2005 earnings of $.96 per share, including reduced first-quarter results for the Agriculture & Nutrition segment. The forecast decline is based on an expectation of lower volumes in crop protection chemicals, competitive pressures and a shift in seasonal revenues between the first and second quarters.



Overall, expectations for first quarter 2006 earnings are about $.70 per share. The company's recently announced initiatives to accelerate value creation, combined with the share repurchase program, should enable the company to earn about $2.60 per share in 2006. The company reported $2.34 per share before significant items in 2005.



SOURCE: DuPont via PR Newswire.