May 3 (Reuters) - U.S. chemicals producer DowDuPont reported a higher adjusted profit and 5 percent rise in net sales in the first quarter as higher prices for its products and demand for packaging, paint and other materials made up for a weak agriculture business.
The company, formed by the merger last year of chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont, clocked up net sales of $21.5 billion for the quarter, which the company said compared to what would of been net sales of $20.5 billion if DowDuPont had been one company in the same quarter a year ago.
Adjusted earnings came in at $1.12 per share, up 7 percent over last year, it said.
"The Materials Science and Specialty Products divisions delivered better-than-expected top- and bottom-line growth with higher prices and volume gains," Chief Executive Ed Breen said in a statement.
"Their growth more than offset weather-related delays that are expected to shift a substantial portion of our agriculture earnings to the second quarter."
The chemical giant said overall sales volumes fell 2 percent, but prices rose 3 percent on a comparable basis.
The materials science unit, which makes chemicals that go into making everything from cosmetics to packaging material to brake fluids, saw sales rise 17 percent, on the back of a 8 percent rise in volumes.
Its specialty products unit, which makes products that go into making construction materials or the semiconductors and chips used in mobile phones, saw sales rise 11 percent. The two divisions offset a slide of 25 percent in the agriculture division. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee; editing by Patrick Graham)