Plastics and chemicals giant DuPont has wrapped up a challenging 2019 — but company officials said that 2020 may have its share of challenges as well.
Sales at Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont were down almost 5 percent to $21.5 billion for full-year 2019. The firm's 2019 profit of $600 million was down 85 percent from 2018.
Wall Street reaction to DuPont's fourth-quarter results was negative, sending the firm's per-share stock price down almost 9 percent to $52.72 on Jan. 30. The price had been above $66 as recently as mid-December.
"Our full year results demonstrate our ability to offset challenging global macro conditions by focusing on the levers within our control," CEO Marc Doyle said in a Jan. 30 news release.
"As we head into 2020, this strong internal discipline continues to be paramount as we foresee further nylon pricing declines and unfavorable nylon mix partially offsetting organic revenue growth in our other core segments," he added.
"We continue to strategically reduce spending and are taking actions to consolidate our asset footprint. These steps will ensure that our costs are right-sized for the future organization and better position us for growth," Doyle said.
DuPont became an independent company again on April 1 after a two-year merger with Dow Inc. That split also created an independent Dow and a third independent company, Corteva.
DuPont's Transportation & Industrial unit — including nylon and other engineering resins — saw 2019 sales fall almost 9 percent to $4.95 billion, with pretax profit down 13.5 percent to $1.3 billion. The firm's Safety & Construction unit — including such plastic products as Kevlar-brand aramid fibers, Nomex-brand aramid materials, Tyvek-brand high density polyethylene fibers and Styrofoam-brand expanded polystyrene foam — posted 2019 sales of $5.2 billion. That amount was down almost 2 percent, but the unit's pretax profit jumped almost 11 percent to $1.4 billion.
Safety & Construction was the second-largest of DuPont's five operating units in 2019, representing more than 24 percent of sales. Transportation & Industrial was third in that same comparison with a 23 percent share of sales.