July 1, 2002
Volume 80, Number 26
CENEAR 80 26 p. 6
ISSN 0009-2347


BUSINESS

COMPANIES PREDICT BETTER EARNINGS
Some diversified chemical firms are optimistic for second quarter

It's that time of the fiscal quarter when many companies try to give investors an indication of how good--or bad--earnings will be. This time around, it seems that after a long, dismal spell, things may be looking up.

Diversified chemical companies, such as DuPont and Lubrizol, say conditions have improved and are revising earnings forecasts upward. Companies supplying agricultural markets seem to be less fortunate, however.

DuPont indicated last week that earnings per share from continuing operations, excluding unusual items, will be between 64 and 67 cents for the second quarter, above analysts' estimates of 57 cents and much higher than the 41 cents the company made in the second quarter of last year. The improved outlook, DuPont says, is due to higher sales across most of its reporting segments.

Improved demand will also help Lubrizol beat Wall Street predictions. The company has raised its outlook to the upper 60-cent-per-share range from the low- to mid-50-cent range. In the second quarter of last year, Lubrizol earned 63 cents per share.

Rohm and Haas indicates higher than expected operating results in the range of 44 to 48 cents per share. Earnings per share in last year's second quarter were 30 cents. CEO Raj L. Gupta attributes the improved performance to strengthening in the company's consumer-driven businesses, plus the adoption of new technologies for the semiconductor industry.

However, fertilizer producer IMC Global says earnings from continuing operations will be about 6 cents per share lower than Wall Street's 11-cent estimate.

Monsanto expects second-quarter earnings of $1.10 to $1.15 per share, compared with earlier forecasts of $1.40 to $1.45. The company notes that wet weather delayed corn and soybean planting in key growing areas this spring and caused corresponding delays in application of Roundup herbicide. And unfavorable market conditions in Latin America continue to affect sales.



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