updated 10/28/2003 6:26:49 PM ET 2003-10-28T23:26:49

Chemical giant DuPont Co. reported a loss of $873 million in its third quarter, citing higher raw material costs and charges related to the planned sale of its textiles and interiors business.

The loss disclosed Wednesday amounted to 88 cents a share for the three months ended Sept. 30 in contrast to a profit of $469 million, or 47 cents a share, a year ago.

The latest results reflected a non-cash, after-tax charge of more than $1 billion, or $1.04 per share, in connection with the anticipated separation of Invista, formerly DuPont Textiles and Interiors.

Sales rose to $6.4 billion from $5.7 billion in the third quarter of 2002. Sales volume increased 4 percent, primarily reflecting growth in Asia and South America.

Third-quarter earnings before special items totaled $135 million, or 13 cents a share. That6 beat a consensus estimate of 11 cents a share from analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

“Our businesses increased volume and significantly improved the top line performance of the company in a still challenging and difficult economy,” said DuPont chairman and chief executive officer Charles Holliday Jr.

However, higher raw material costs reduced earnings by $200 million, or 20 cents per share, and non-cash pension and stock option expenses reduced earnings by an additional 10 cents per share.

For the first nine months of the year, DuPont reported net income of $337 million, or 33 cents per share, compared to a loss of $1.4 billion, or $1.46 a share, for the first three quarters of 2002. Revenue rose to $21 billion from $18.7 billion a year ago.

In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, DuPont shares fell $1.75, or 4.3 percent, to $39.20.

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