Processing Magazine

DuPont finance chief doesn''t see recovery in 2009

February 11, 2009
The Associated Press reports that DuPont’s chief financial officer, Jeffery Keefer, has said that the chemical maker likely won''t bounce back from the economic slump this year, though it stands to benefit from a stimulus package under debate in Congress. The company last month swung to a fourth-quarter loss as sales and volumes fell sharply. Part of the loss was due to a restructuring plan, including more than 2,500 layoffs, announced late last year. Others in the sector, including Huntsman Corp., Dow Chemical Co., Rohm & Haas Co. and Ashland, have also announced layoffs in recent months in an attempt to cut costs. DuPont earned $2 billion, or $2.20 per share, in 2008, down from $2.9 billion, or $3.22 per share, in 2007. DuPont is now working to conserve and generate cash, and maintain its balance sheet, Keefer said. The company will slash capital spending and expenses this year, and focus on high-growth areas, including its agricultural and alternative energy businesses, he said. Construction products -- including its pavement materials and Tyvek home wrap -- could see an uptick in sales if the final version of a stimulus package currently under debate in Congress is approved, Keefer said. The company will return excess cash to shareholders "unless we have compelling growth opportunities," he said. The dividend has been paid consecutively for more than 400 quarters.