updated 10/24/2006 8:00:53 AM ET 2006-10-24T12:00:53

Chemical maker Dupont Co. said Tuesday that it swung to a third-quarter profit on higher sales and lower fixed costs, despite higher expenses for raw materials.

The company earned $485 million, or 52 cents per share, versus a year-ago loss of $82 million, or 9 cents per share.

Excluding one-time items, earnings per share rose to 49 cents from 33 cents a year ago, when results were weighed down by charges related to hurricane damage and cleanup costs.

Revenue grew 7 percent to $6.31 billion, reflecting 3 percent higher local prices, 3 percent higher volume, and a 1 percent currency effect.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial forecast, on average, a quarterly profit of 45 cents per share and revenue of $6.13 billion.

The company said raw material costs were $180 million higher than last year despite lower market prices for U.S. natural gas, but these were fully offset by increases in prices for goods sold. Dupont also credited improved results to lower fixed costs.

Dupont forecast a 2006 profit of about $2.86 per share and said it continues to believe it will meet its long-term financial goal of 10 percent annual growth in earnings per share.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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