DowDuPont’s So-So Earnings Get Boost From $3 Billion Buyback

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DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) reported third-quarter 2018 results Thursday before the markets opened. The conglomerate posted adjusted operating earnings per share (EPS) of $0.74 on revenue of $20.1 billion. In the second quarter of 2017, the company reported pro forma EPS of $0.55 on pro forma revenue of $18.29 billion. Consensus estimates had called for EPS of $0.71 and revenues of $20.23 billion.

The company dressed up the quarterly report by announcing a $3 billion share buyback that it expects to complete before the first of three spin-offs scheduled for the first half on next year. Since the merger between Dow and DuPont was completed, the company has returned $7.5 billion to shareholders in dividends and buybacks.

The first spin-off is currently planned for April, when the material sciences division is floated under the name Dow. The agricultural division and the specialty products division are due to be spun-out on June 1, 2019, as Corteva and DuPont, respectively.

CEO Ed Breen said:

Organic sales rose 10 percent, equally driven by volume and local price as customer demand remained strong. We delivered our year-over-year cost synergies and we are again raising our target, now to $3.6 billion. We are also reaffirming our full year 2018 EPS guidance provided in August with our second quarter earnings announcement.

Chief Financial Officer Howard Ungerleider commented on the company’s outlook:

Global demand for our products remains strong, supported by solid fundamentals, including business investment, manufacturing output, job growth and wage increases. Going forward, we remain well positioned to continue to drive top-line gains from above-GDP demand growth for our products and new product launches, while further delivering productivity and cost synergy savings.

The consensus analysts’ estimate calls for fourth-quarter EPS of $0.92 and revenue of $21.34 billion. For the full year, analysts are looking for EPS of $4.13 and revenue of $87.36 billion. The revenue estimate reflects year-over-year growth of 9.8%.

DowDuPont stock has been among the worst performers this year among the 30 stocks that comprise the Dow Jones industrial average index. As of last night’s close, the stock is down just over 24%, trailing IBM by only half a point as the Dow’s worst. For the past four weeks, it has been the index’s worst performer.

Shares traded up about 4.8% Thursday morning at $56.50, after closing at $53.92 on Wednesday, up nearly 2.5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $51.32 to $77.08. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock was $78.55 before this morning’s earnings release.

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