US chemicals giant DuPont announced on Tuesday its net profit collapsed to $10 million in the third quarter from $452 million in the same period last year, and that it would cut 1,500 jobs.
The maker of the Kevlar fiber used in body armor said that third-quarter sales fell by 9 percent to $7.4 billion, with volumes down by 5 percent and negative currency effects accounting for the rest of the decline.
DuPont said it expected its full-year 2012 earnings from continuing operations, excluding significant items, to be in a range of $3.25 to $3.30 per share, down from $3.55 per share last year on a comparable basis.
The company said it had launched a a restructuring plan to increase productivity, enhance competitiveness and accelerate growth.
It estimated the restructuring, which includes eliminating about 1,500 positions globally in the next 12-18 months, will deliver pre-tax cost savings of about $450 million, including $300 million in 2013.
"Today, we are taking additional actions to improve competitiveness and accelerate market-driven innovation and growth by fine-tuning the organization, eliminating costs and expanding beyond our everyday focus on productivity," said DuPont chief executive Ellen Kullman was quoted as saying in the earnings statement.
She noted weaker than expected demand in titanium dioxide and photovoltaic markets contributed to the decline, and that last year's third-quarter earnings were record.
"We are addressing these challenges now to position ourselves for improved performance," she added.