E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. slashed its annual forecast, reported a lower-than-expected third-quarter profit and announced 1,500 job cuts on Tuesday, bleak signs that demand for the chemical company's lucrative paint and solar products is slipping around the world, Reuters reported. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 250 points this morning on the news, amid other weak earnings reports.
The company posted net income of $10 million, or a penny per share, compared with $452 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier. DuPont's sales fell 9 percent to $7.4 billion in the third quarter, while analysts on average had expected $8.15 billion.
Agricultural sales were a bright spot for the company. The parent company of Johnston-based Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., DuPont reported agricultural sales of $1.4 billion for the quarter, a 4 percent increase.
DuPont plans to lay off 1,500 employees around the world, about 2 percent of its 70,000-person work force.
Roughly half of the layoffs are due to the weak economy, and DuPont took a one-time charge of $242 million to pay out severance to workers.
The other half of the layoffs are connected to DuPont's August sale of its slow-growing car paint business to investment firm Carlyle Group LP for $4.9 billion.
Trying to reassure Wall Street, DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said executives were "addressing these challenges now to position ourselves for improved performance."