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DuPont sees 'challenge'
May 23, 2001: 5:08 p.m. ET

Chemical conglomerate's COO says economy is weighing on business
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - A top executive of DuPont Co. told investors Wednesday that the company's business remains pressured as the economic conditions which have weighed on the manufacturing industry continue to take a toll.

"The U.S. manufacturing sector has been in recession since late last year, and we have been very clear that we entered the second quarter of 2001 expecting an environment at least as challenging as in the first quarter," Richard R. Goodmanson, DuPont's chief operating officer told industry analysts and investors attending the Goldman Sachs Chemical Investors Forum in Boca Raton, Fla.

Richard R. Goodmanson
"Thus far in the second quarter, we have seen further negative developments in markets that are sensitive to discretionary spending such as electronics, automotive, and commercial and residential remodeling markets," Goodmanson added. "Clearly, these developments increase the challenge."

DuPont is a chemicals conglomerate whose business spans a range of industries including transportation, textile, construction, automotive, agricultural and hybrid seeds, nutrition and health, pharmaceuticals, packaging and electronics.

The company operates globally through some 20 strategic business units.

During his presentation, Goodmanson highlighted several trends in the industries DuPont serves which have been driven by the slowing and uncertain global economy. For the first time in this downturn, demand in Europe has softened while North American demand for commercial and residential carpet has declined. In addition, the North American architectural paint season is off to a very slow start.

As an upstream supplier, DuPont is increasingly affected by the global high tech slowdown that began to emerge last quarter, Goodmanson said.

Goodmanson did not explicitly tell analysts and investors that they should lower their expectations for the company's financial performance in the current quarter, which ends in June. The current consensus estimate of analysts polled by earnings tracker First Call is for the company to earn 63 cents per share.

Shares of DuPont (DD: Research, Estimates) fell $1.92 to $47.39 amid a broad decline in U.S. stocks Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average, in which DuPont is a component, ended the session 151.73 points lower at 11,105.51, 1.4 percent decline. graphic


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