WILMINGTON, Del. -- DuPont's first-quarter 2010 earnings per share were $1.24, compared to $.54 in the prior year.

Sales were $8.5 billion, up 23 percent vs. prior year. This reflects 19-percent higher volume, 2-percent higher local selling prices, a 3-percent benefit from currency and a 1-percent reduction from portfolio changes.

Asia Pacific sales were $1.6 billion with volume up 65 percent in the quarter. Sales in Performance Polymers, Electronics & Communications, and Titanium Technologies were particularly strong. Volumes in emerging markets were also strong, up 28 percent.

Raw material, energy and freight costs, adjusted for currency and volume, were about 2 percent lower versus prior year. The company expects these costs to trend higher as the year progresses, reflecting a full-year increase of about 5 percent.

Spending increases for growth initiatives, primarily in Agriculture & Nutrition, and higher non-cash pension expense contributed to an increase in total fixed costs versus 2009. Continued productivity projects and restructuring savings improved fixed costs as a percentage of sales to 37 percent, which is comparable to pre-recession levels.

Pharmaceuticals first-quarter pre-tax income was $221 million, about $60 million higher than anticipated. The company expects full-year Pharmaceuticals pre-tax income of $360-$400 million.

DuPont increases its full-year 2010 earnings guidance to a range of $2.50 to $2.70 per share. The previous guidance was $2.15 to $2.45 per share.

"Our intense focus on customers, sustained R&D investments and productivity improvements are delivering growth," said DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman. "Macro trends drove first-quarter demand for our science-based innovations, and DuPont was ready. The actions taken last year are benefiting the company as we emerge stronger in 2010."

SOURCE: DuPont.