DuPont says wet spring to hit operating

June 19 [Wed], 2013, 15:10
(Reuters) - Chemical maker DuPont

said its operating profit would fall more than it expected in the first half of the year as a wet spring in North America and Europe hurt its agriculture business, sending its shares down 1.5 percent.

Dupont is focusing on food and agricultural products to cut its dependence on a weakening market for paint pigments.

The company expects its first-half operating earnings per share to be about 10 percent below last year, Chief Financial Officer Nicholas Fanandakis said in a statement on Thursday. The company had forecast a 7 to 9 percent fall in April.

"Unseasonably cool, wet weather across North America and Europe is impacting our agriculture and nutrition and health segments' second-quarter revenues and costs," Fanandakis said.

The company also expects full-year operating earnings to be at the low end of its forecast of $3.85 to $4.05 per share.

DuPont's agricultural business accounted for 45 percent of its first-quarter revenue of $10.4 billion.

The company will report second-quarter results on July 23.

The stock was trading at $53.43 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)