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DuPont sales down in 1st quarter

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DuPont saw sales fall in the first quarter of the year, dropping five and a half percent from a year ago.

The chemical giant posted net sales of $7.4 billion – down from $7.8 billion.  The drop is largely the result of a strong U.S. dollar overseas.

The company’s Industrial Biosciences unit was the only one with a quarterly sales increase – up one percent. Agriculture sales were off 4 percent, while Performance Materials and Electronics & Communications dropped 10 and 13 percent respectively.

But DuPont says its plan to cut costs ahead of its planned merger with Dow is working.  Those cuts – which include laying off 17 hundred Delaware workers – helped trim the company’s operating costs by 135 million dollars – a 7 percent drop compared a year ago. The company also reports corporate expenses on an operating earnings basis declined 44 percent.

"We made progress with our global cost savings and restructuring plan and are on track for savings of $730 million in 2016, including significant improvements in our corporate cost performance, “said Ed Breen, DuPont Chair and CEO in a statement. “We also continued to achieve key milestones in our intended merger of equals with Dow and as we look ahead to the rest of the year, we remain focused on accelerating our value-creation work, investing in our core franchises, and closing the intended merger of equals.

DuPont officials say the reduction in expenses means it now anticipates full-year 2016 operating earnings to be between $3.05 and $3.20 per share, up 10 cents per share from their previous outlook.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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