DuPont: Iowa cellulosic biorefinery mechanically complete

By Erin Voegele | July 28, 2015

DuPont has released second quarter financial results, reporting an 11 percent drop in sales and a slight increase in earnings per share. The company also noted its cellulosic refinery in Iowa is now mechanically complete.

DuPont reported second quarter sales of $8.6 billion, down 11 percent from the same period of last year. The company’s agriculture segment reported sales of $3.22 billion, down 11 percent, while the industrial biosciences division reported sales of $288 million, down 9 percent.

Quarterly operating earnings were $1.18 per share, up from $1.17 per share during the same period of the prior year. GAAP earnings were $1.03 per share, compared to $1.15 per share during the second quarter of 2014.

Operating earnings were $1.08 billion, down from $1.09 billion during the same period of last year. The agriculture segment reported operating earnings of $778 million, down 7 percent from $836 million reported for the second quarter of 2014. According to DuPont, improved productivity and increased prices in the agriculture segment were more than offset by lower volumes and an $84 million negative currency impact. Decreased volumes are due to reduced soybean sales, lower crop protection volumes and reductions in global corn planted area. Excluding the impact of currency, operating earnings in the segment would have increased by approximately 3 percent.

Operating earnings were also down 15 percent in the industrial biosciences division, reaching $50 million, down from $59 million during the same quarter of 2014. According to DuPont, increased demand for bioactives was more than offset by lower pricing and a $6 million negative impact of currency. Increased enzyme demand, principally in animal nutrition, health and personal care, and food markets, was offset by lower biomaterial sales. Excluding the impact of currency, operating earnings would have been down approximately 5 percent.

During an investor call, Ellen Kullman, chairwoman and CEO of DuPont, provided a brief update of the company’s cellulosic ethanol initiatives. “In biobased industrials, we delivered against two important milestones in July,” she said. “First, we have mechanically completed our Nevada, Iowa, biorefinery, which will open later this year and will be among the largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world. Second, DuPont is in active business discussions around the world with potential licenses, and two weeks ago announced a licensing agreement with New Tianlong Industry in China to begin the development of China’s largest cellulosic ethanol manufacturing plant. The agreement allows NTL to license DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol technology and use our Accellerase enzymes to produce renewable biofuel from the leftover biomass on Jilin Province’s highly productive corn farms.”