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Corteva sees 2021 profit above estimates on demand for insecticides

Feb 3 (Reuters) - Corteva Inc forecast 2021 core earnings above analysts’ estimates on Wednesday after reporting a 5% rise in fourth-quarter profit on the back of strong demand for some of the company’s herbicides and insecticides.

The company’s upbeat outlook comes just couple of weeks after activist investor Starboard Value LP slammed Corteva’s weak financial performance and nominated eight directors to its board, seeking to oust its chief executive officer.

Corteva forecast operating earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion, above the $2.35 billion that analysts on average had estimated.

It, however, forecast net sales of $14.4 billion to $14.6 billion for the year, slightly below analysts estimates of $14.67 billion.

The company’s operating EBITDA rose to $236 million in the fourth quarter from $224 million a year earlier, helped by strong demand for new products globally, including its Enlist and Arylex herbicides and Isoclast insecticide.

Net sales for its crop protection products rose 13% to about $2 billion in the fourth quarter, with gains driven by an increase of 11% increase in volume and 10% in local price.

Seed net sales were flat at $1.2 billion as higher volumes were offset by a weaker Brazilian Real. (Reporting by Rithika Krishna and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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