​DuPont cost-cutting pushes it beyond Wall Street's hopes

WILMINGTON, Del. - DuPont (DD) topped most expectations in the second quarter as the chemical maker cut costs ahead of its tie up with Dow Chemical (DOW), and upped its profit outlook for the year.

Shareholders approved the merger of agriculture and chemicals companies last week. Once complete, the century-old companies plan to break up into three parts. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, if it gets the nod from regulators.

Both Dow and DuPont Co. were pushed by activist investors to break up or find other ways to energize growth. They agreed to merge in December in an all-stock deal valued at about $62 billion.

For the three months ended June 30, DuPont earned $1.02 billion, or $1.16 per share. Excluding certain items, earnings were $1.24 per share, which was 14 cents better than analysts had expected, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research. A year ago the Wilmington, Delaware-based company earned $940 million, or $1.03 per share.

Selling, general and administrative expenses declined in the quarter, as did its research and development expense.

Revenue slipped to $7.06 billion from $7.12 billion, hindered partly by foreign currency fluctuations and local pricing. Still, it managed to top the $7.05 billion that analysts polled by Zacks predicted.

DuPont said Tuesday that it now foresees full-year adjusted earnings between $3.15 and $3.20 per share. Its prior outlook was for $3.05 to $3.20 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of $3.15 per share.