July 25, 2017 / 10:12 AM / a month ago

Strength in farm business powers DuPont's results beat

FILE PHOTO: DuPont products are shown for sale in a hardware store in National City, California, December 9, 2015.Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reuters) - DuPont's (DD.N) quarterly profit and revenue beat estimates on Tuesday, driven by strength in its agriculture business, its biggest, sending its shares to a record high.

DuPont, which is merging with Dow Chemical (DOW.N), rose as much as 2.4 percent to $86.36 in morning trading. Dow, which will report quarterly earnings on Thursday, was up 1.7 percent.

Sales in DuPont's agriculture unit, which accounts for nearly half of its total revenue, rose 7 percent as the company sold more soybean seeds in North America and sunflower seeds in Europe.

U.S. farmers sowed a record acreage of soybeans in spring this year as demand from China offered a potential lifeline in the face of falling demand for corn.

DuPont and Dow are hiving off assets worth billions, including a portion of DuPont's crop protection business, to comply with anti-trust regulators after announcing their $130 billion merger-before-breakup deal in December 2015.

The new company, DowDuPont, will split into agriculture, specialty chemicals and materials companies.

DuPont said on Tuesday it continued to expect the deal to be completed next month.

Net sales for DuPont rose 5.1 percent to $7.42 billion in the second quarter ended June 30.

Sales at the company's second-largest business that serves the automotive and aerospace markets rose 6 percent.

Net income attributable to DuPont fell 15.5 percent to $862 million, or 99 cents per share.

DuPont said it took a charge of $376 million in the quarter mainly due to costs related to its merger with Dow.

Excluding items, Dupont earned $1.38 per share. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.29 per share and revenue of $7.29 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

DuPont's shares were up 1.7 percent at $85.77 on Tuesday.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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