DuPont Announces $1B Share Buyback Program
DuPont today announced that its board of directors has authorized a share repurchase program for $1 billion of the company's common stock. This program, expected to be completed in 2013, is subject to receiving the proceeds from the Performance Coatings divestiture. The company also updated 2012 earnings guidance to be at the high end of the previous range of $3.25 to $3.30 per share on a continuing operations basis, excluding significant items.
"Our fourth quarter performance is as expected and at the high end of our previous guidance. I am pleased that our board authorized a significant stock repurchase program. This program reflects our confidence in the underlying fundamentals of our business as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders. The buyback delivers meaningful near-term value with the remaining proceeds from the divestiture providing us the ability to further strengthen our balance sheet, preserving our flexibility to invest in selective growth opportunities," said Ellen Kullman, Chair and CEO of DuPont.
The company also announced its current outlook for 2013 earnings to grow low- to mid-single digits with sales growing in the low-single digits. The outlook reflects the view that all of the company's segments will deliver solid earnings growth versus 2012, except for Performance Chemicals, which is expected to be down substantially with margins decreasing six to seven percentage points in 2013. Excluding Performance Chemicals, the company would expect earnings growth of at least high-teens in 2013 versus 2012.
"While we are seeing indications that market conditions are firming up in some areas, volatility and uncertainty also persist," said Kullman. "Our current outlook calls for our 2013 earnings to grow low- to mid-single digits over 2012 as the investments we are making in agriculture and nutrition, industrial biosciences and advanced materials continue to deliver results offset by the weakness in titanium dioxide markets. We will provide more specific guidance with our fourth quarter earnings report."
Additionally, the company announced its intention to begin reporting "operating earnings" (Non-GAAP) in 2013. Operating earnings is defined as earnings from continuing operations (GAAP) excluding significant items and non-operating pension and other postretirement employee benefit (OPEB) costs, which are impacted by changes in interest rates and plan returns. For the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2012, non-operating pension/OPEB costs were approximately $.36 per share on a continuing operations basis. The company will provide further information concerning the new reporting change later this week.
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