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October 29, 2001
Volume 79, Number 44
CENEAR 79 44 p. 10
ISSN 0009-2347
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Weak demand continues to drag chemical company results down


A number of chemical companies have reported third-quarter earnings, and fortunate is the firm whose earnings decline from the same period last year is limited to just a single digit.

DuPont, the largest company to have reported by C&EN press time, says its earnings from operations fell 76%, excluding unusual items, to $128 million as sales fell 12% to $5.65 billion.

DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday Jr. says, "Clearly, we are experiencing one of the most challenging business environments the company has faced in decades."

DuPont's big decline aside, a couple of those fortunate firms are reporting results. Air Products & Chemicals saw earnings decline just 5% to $133 million as sales fell 6% to $1.36 billion. Continued weakness in the global electronics market and in U.S. manufacturing was the primary cause of the earnings decline. Chairman, President, and CEO John P. Jones III says, "In this challenging environment, Air Products produced solid results, implemented several strategic steps, and took some difficult, but decisive, actions. These actions will make Air Products more competitive going forward."

Fellow industrial gases producer Praxair had a slightly better quarter than Air Products, reporting an earnings decline of only 2% to $119 million. Sales were unchanged from last year's third-quarter figure of $1.27 billion. Chairman, President, and CEO Dennis H. Reilley says, "Praxair is holding its own in a world of weak economies and a strong dollar." The company notes that weak currency effects reduced earnings by $13 million.

Other major chemical companies reporting earnings are Lubrizol, down 2% to $22.8 million; Cytec Industries, down 23% to $21.3 million; Rohm and Haas, down 31% to $53.0 million; and PPG Industries, down 39% to $93.0 million.

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