updated 10/23/2007 8:08:44 AM ET 2007-10-23T12:08:44

Chemical maker DuPont on Tuesday posted a larger profit for the third quarter on agricultural and nutritional products in Latin America and the company boosted its full-year outlook.

DuPont reported a net profit of $526 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with $485 million, or 52 cents per share for the third quart of last year. Sales rose to $6.68 billion from $6.31 billion a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial on average expected earnings per share of 52 cents on sales of $6.73 billion.

DuPont said growth in all of its segments outside the United States offset weak domestic demand.

The company's performance was led by its agricultural and nutrition unit, which reported sales growth of 21 percent to $1.1 billion, attributed to strong performance in international seeds, 11 percent volume growth and a 38 percent improvement in pretax operating income that reduced its seasonal loss to $96 million.

On a regional basis, 16 percent volume growth in Latin America and Canada more than offset a 2 percent volume decline in the United States.

"DuPont generated solid operating leverage and 20 percent earnings per share growth in the third quarter," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles Holliday Jr. "We increased sales outside the United States 11 percent and grew worldwide agriculture and nutrition segment sales 21 percent. Our performance reflects the concentrated actions of our employees to execute our growth strategies and productivity initiatives, which overcame the challenges of higher cost ingredients and lower U.S. demand."

DuPont raised its earnings per share outlook for 2007 to a range of $3.15 to $3.20, up from a forecast of $3.15 previously. Analysts expected earnings of $3.15 per share for the year.

The company said it is generally positive on 2008, with growth internationally continuing to offset weakness in U.S. demand, particularly from the automotive and housing markets.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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