DuPont signals strong 2021 on demand from smartphone makers, auto rebound

Feb 9 (Reuters) - Industrial materials maker DuPont on Tuesday forecast full-year profit and revenue above Wall Street expectations on the back of robust demand from smartphone makers launching 5G handsets and a recovery in global auto sales.

The company, once part of the erstwhile chemical giant DowDupont, forecast 2021 adjusted earnings of $3.30 to $3.45 per share, above the $3.07 analysts had estimated, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Net sales estimates of between $15.40 billion and $15.60 billion also came in above analysts’ expectations of $15.11 billion.

Sales in DuPont’s electronics and imaging business rose 9% to $1.02 billion in the fourth quarter from a year earlier and was also marginally higher than the third, fueled by strong uptake for advanced materials used in smartphone and chips.

DuPont, which makes everything from brake fluid to fabric used in protective garments, also pointed to higher demand for its personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic and from carmakers as several economies relaxed their lockdowns.

The company this month completed the sale of its nutrition and biosciences business to International Flavors & Fragrances Inc, while also cutting costs, including jobs, to ride out the health crisis that hammered some of its customers.

DuPont said adjusted net income rose to $698 million, or 95 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $645 million, or 88 cents per share, in the third quarter, in line with preliminary results announced last month.

For the first quarter, the company expects net sales between $3.75 billion and $3.85 billion. It projected a profit of 75 cents to 77 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit 65 cents per share and revenue of $3.69 billion. (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)