By Debroop Roy
(Reuters) – DowDuPont Inc posted a 28 percent slump in quarterly profit on Thursday, as floods in the United States delayed seed shipments and demand for its specialized chemicals used by the auto and smartphone industries declined, sending shares down about 6 percent.
The company, which sells everything from circuit packaging and display materials for smartphones to lubricants and break fluid for car makers, reaffirmed its full-year forecast for net sales to be about flat.
Bernstein analyst Jonas Oxgaard called DowDuPont’s results “refreshingly dull”, but said the last thing the market wanted at the moment was a surprise.
Formed in 2017 by the $130 billion merger of chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont, DowDuPont is now in the process of splitting into three separate business units – Dow, DuPont and Corteva Agriscience.
Dow Inc, the materials science business, was spun off on April 1. Corteva is set to be separated on June 1. It makes corn, soybean, cotton sunflower seeds as well as insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.
The company said in March that the U.S. Midwest floods, which idled ethanol plants, slowed agricultural shipments and swamped storage bins holding grain from previous harvests, had limited the company’s ability to deliver products to customers.
As a combined company, DowDuPont’s adjusted net income fell to $1.89 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, from $2.63 billion a year earlier.
On a per share basis, it earned 84 cents, in line with analysts’ estimates, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net sales at DowDuPont dropped 9 percent to $19.65 billion, and at Dow, it fell 10 percent to $10.77 billion.
The company also said it expects to benefit from a recovery in demand from the auto and smartphone makers in the second half of the year.
Dow posted a 24 percent drop in core earnings from operations during the reported quarter, in line with estimate, hurt by weak prices for its chemicals.
In the second quarter, Dow said it is expecting a $200 million hit, mainly from seasonal planned turnaround and maintenance activity.
But pricing was beginning to rise sequentially in its key markets, with an uptick in crude prices that is expected to benefit full-year earnings, the company said.
It forecast revenue between $11 billion and $11.5 billion for the second quarter.
Shares of Dow, which have risen about 5 percent since it spun off from DowDupont on April 1, were down 4.6 percent at $53.55.
(Reporting by Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Shinjini Ganguli)