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DuPont lowers outlook, sets new job cuts

DuPont lowers outlook, sets new job cuts

New York: Chemical maker DuPont reported a 59% fall in quarterly profit, trimmed its full-year outlook and said it would cut more jobs as weak economic conditions continued to constrict demand.

The US chemicals industry has been hard hit in recent months by the recession that has shrunk sales of its products from the autos, construction and electronics industries.

The Wilmington, Delaware-based company, said it would seek $200 million in cost reductions, including cuts to contractor positions and work schedule reductions, and announced a 12.5% cut to its 2009 spending plans to $1.4 billion.

DuPont maintained its second-quarter dividend at 41 cents a share.

The company is planning further restructuring plans that will be finalized in the second quarter. In December, the company said it would lay off 2,500 employees and 4,000 contractors.

For the second quarter, DuPont expects revenue growth to be limited by continuing weak demand in non-agriculture markets and the negative impact of currency.

Earnings slightly top forecast

First-quarter earnings fell to $488.0 million, or 54 cents a share, from $1.19 billion, or $1.31 a share, last year. Sales fell 20% to $6.87 billion.

Analysts, on average, forecast earnings of 52 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $7.44 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

For full-year 2009, the company expects earnings to be between $1.70 and $2.10 a share, down from its earlier forecast of earnings to be in the range of $2.00 to $2.50 a share.

Analysts, on average, were expecting full-year 2009 earnings of $1.88 a share.

DuPont shares, which rose 13% in the last three months, closed at $26.74 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. In the last 52 weeks, the stock has traded in the range of $16.06 to $52.34.

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