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Still scrambling, DuPont cuts 2,000 jobs

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 8:33am

NEW YORK (AP) — DuPont will cut another 2,000 jobs, the chemical company announced Thursday, with few signs that economic conditions have improved for some of its biggest customers.

The company had already announced 2,500 layoffs, in addition to eliminating about 10,000 contractor jobs.

When Dupont released its first-quarter earnings results in January, executives said the severe downturn of 2008 had not abated, and that it was being forced to cut costs further.

Profits through March tumbled 59 percent to $488 million, or 54 cents per share, down from $1.19 billion, or $1.31 per share, a year ago.

Sales in construction and heavy industry, especially the auto sector, have been hit hard.

"What has happened since December is that the severity has escalated," said company spokesman Anthony Farina. "All you have to do is look at our first-quarter report, where volumes were down significantly, to see fundamental shifts in market."

DuPont said it would increase fixed-cost cuts from $730 million to $1 billion.

The entire chemical industry has been affected by the slowdown.

Rival Dow Chemical Co. has cut 10,000 jobs since last fall. Huntsman Corp. and Ashland Inc. have also announced layoffs in recent months.

The Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont said it would take a charge of between $340 million and $390 million in the second quarter, about 40 percent of it non-cash.

DuPont Co. said it will realize about $225 million in annual savings by the end of 2010.

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