DuPont sets $1 billion stock buyback target, hikes dividend after Q4 profit beat By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo for DuPont de Nemours, Inc. is seen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 3, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

By Saikeerthi .

(Reuters) -DuPont de Nemours announced a new $1 billion stock repurchase program and a 6% rise in its quarterly dividend on Tuesday after it beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit, sending its shares up about 7.2%.

The specialty-chemicals maker, whose products are used by consumer electronics firms and packaging companies, also said it expects a “broad-based electronics materials recovery in 2024”.

DuPont (NYSE:) sees demand stabilization in its semiconductor technologies and electronics business this year, following a destocking trend that hit most chemicals firms along with weak demand in key regions such as China and the UK.

China, a key market for the company, continues to be a sticky point, said CFO Lori Koch, labeling it a “tough market”, but expects demand to pick up later this year.

“I think we got hit a little harder than we were expecting in the fourth quarter,” Koch said in reply to a question about inventory dynamics during an earnings call.

However, the trend is likely to abate in the second half of 2024 when the company expects to report year-over-year growth in sales and earnings.

“The semiconductors and interconnect businesses are improving and are at the bottom of a long cycle. This may signal to investors the worst might be over by mid-24”, says Aleksey Yefremov, senior analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the company reported an adjusted profit of 87 cents per share, above LSEG estimates of 85 cents, helped by reduced costs.

The company forecast annual sales between $11.9 billion and $12.3 billion, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $12.3 billion.

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