Sales of DuPont’s agriculture segment rose by 3.8% to $3,928 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. The growth was driven by 2% price appreciation and a 2% increase in volume.
Price increase led by double-digit gains in Brazil with continued expansion of Pioneer® brand hybrids with Leptra® insect protection. Price appreciation also realized through launch of Pioneer® brand soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend®* technology, and increased sunflower seed sales.
Volume improvement driven by the change in timing of seed deliveries which benefitted first quarter by approximately $140 million, increased insecticides and sunflower seed sales, partially offset by an expected decrease in corn acreage in North America.
Operating earnings increased $135 million, or 12% to $1,236 million, on local price and volume growth. Operating margins expanded by about 240 basis points.
First-Half 2017 Outlook
Sales forecast to increase mid-single digits percent driven by volume growth, pricing gains and the positive impact of currency.
Volume growth forecast to be driven by the shift in timing of seed deliveries, increased new product sales (Xtend®* soybeans, FeXapan herbicide, Zorvec fungicide), increased sunflower seed sales, and increased insecticide volume partially offset by lower expected corn acreage.
Price appreciation led by double-digits gains in Brazil from Leptra®, full launch of Xtend®* soybeans in North America, and increased sunflower seed sales in Europe.
Operating earnings forecast to increase high-single digits percent driven by volume growth, pricing gains, and the positive impact of currency.
Forecasting higher product costs driven by higher soybean costs in North America.