DuPont is addressing the challenging economic conditions head-on by driving cash-generating actions and reducing costs, working capital and capital expenditures, said DuPont Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Jeffrey L. Keefer.
"DuPont's priorities for 2009 are clear," Mr Keefer told investors at the Barclays Industrial Select Conference in Miami. "We will drive earnings and cash, reduce cost by $1.1 billion, reduce capital spending 20 percent from 2008 levels and reduce working capital by $1 billion," he said. "These actions, in conjunction with our diverse geographic and end-market exposure, will enable the company to maintain its strong financial position as well as emerge from the global recession more agile and more competitive."
Specific priorities for the company include delivering growth in the Agriculture & Nutrition business segment; continuing its disciplined approach to pricing; capturing value for DuPont's science and brands; delivering cost and capital reductions; and focused investments in growth markets such as seeds and photovoltaics.
DuPont begins 2009 with a strong balance sheet after delivering $3.1 billion cash from operations and $1.1 billion in free cash flow in 2008.
"DuPont's strong balance sheet provides us with ample liquidity and low funding cost, which is a source of competitive advantage," Mr Keefer added. "January sales results confirmed our expectation that the first quarter will be a continuation of conditions experienced in fourth quarter 2008 with continued double digit volume declines."
While DuPont is taking aggressive actions today to align its cost with demand, Mr Keefer said the company is well-positioned beyond the recession and confident in its long-term growth strategies, which remain in tact. The growth strategies are:
- capturing gains in Agriculture and Safety & Protection and opportunities in Applied BioSciences
- increasing penetration in emerging markets
- acquiring businesses with unique synergies, and
- accelerating productivity.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.