FILE PHOTO : The logo DuPont de Nemours, Inc. for is seen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City

DuPont beats profit estimates on price hikes, electronics demand

(Reuters) -Industrial materials maker DuPont posted quarterly earnings that surpassed market expectations on Tuesday as price hikes and strong demand in its electronics unit helped offset a hit from surging raw material costs.

The company also boosted its quarterly dividend by 10% and announced a new $1 billion share buyback program, as it capitalizes on a rebound in the auto and chipmaking industries as well as the rollout of high-end telecom technologies.

DuPont, which makes advanced electronic materials for smart and autonomous vehicles and 5G wireless services, said organic sales in its Electronics & Industrial segment grew by 9%, boosted by strong volumes in the Semiconductor Technologies division.

The company said sales in its Water & Protection segment, which provides treatment and purification technologies, grew by 16% in the quarter.

“Sustained strong demand in key end-markets such as electronics and water … (was) critical to our fourth-quarter results,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Breen said in a statement.

To hedge inflationary pressure roiling several industries, DuPont hiked the price of its products by 7% in the quarter.

The company expects 2022 net sales between $17.4 billion and $17.8 billion, higher than analyst estimates, on the back of strong consumer demand.

But Chief Financial Officer Lori Koch said high costs for raw materials and logistics would continue to impact margins, prompting DuPont to forecast roughly flat growth in first-quarter core earnings from the prior three-month period.

It expects full-year adjusted earnings to be $4.60 to $4.90 per share, the midpoint of which falls below the consensus estimate of $4.86 per share.

Total sales for the fourth quarter jumped 14% to $4.3 billion and beat analysts’ average estimate of $4 billion, according to Refinitiv data. Adjusted net income of $1.08 per share also topped expectations of 98 cents per share.

(Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Ramakrishnan M.)