DuPont Co. is leaving behind a forgettable 2015 as it prepares for its massive merger with Dow Chemical Co.
Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont on Jan. 26 released full-year financial results for 2015. Total sales for the year fell 11.5 percent to $25.1 billion, as profit dropped 46 percent to just under $2 billion.
Sales in DuPont's Performance Materials unit — including nylon and other specialty resins — fell almost 12 percent to $5.3 billion, although its operating earnings fell 4 percent to just over $1.2 billion. Based on sales, Performance Materials was the second largest of DuPont's six operating units in 2015, generating a 21 percent share, trailing only Agriculture.
“We are making progress on key initiatives, including further improving our cost structure,” Chairman and CEO Ed Breen said in a news release.
DuPont and Midland, Mich.-based Dow — another U.S.-based plastics and chemicals giant — announced their historic merger on Dec. 11. The combined firm then is expected to be split into three separate public companies — including one focused on materials — in the next 18-24 months.
“Our merger process is on track,” Breen added. “We are meeting key milestones and have begun planning to create three strong, highly focused, independent businesses.”
DuPont also increased its cost-cutting goal in 2016 to $730 million, $30 million more than its original target. The firm previously said it would cut around 10 percent of its global workforce — a move that would eliminate more than 5,000 jobs. As many as 1,700 of those cuts could come from DuPont's home state of Delaware. The firm also is consolidating its global research operations, which date back to the 1920s.
On Wall Street, DuPont's per-share stock price fell about 5 percent in 2015, but like many publicly held firms, it's been clobbered during the market meltdown of early 2016. The price was near $67 on Jan. 1 but was under $54 in early trading Jan. 26, for a drop of almost 20 percent in less than a month.