updated 10/25/2005 8:16:41 AM ET 2005-10-25T12:16:41

DuPont Co., one of the largest U.S. chemicals makers, on Tuesday reported a loss for the third-quarter after taking a tax-related charge and suffering losses from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

Separately, the company announced a $5 billion stock buyback program.

DuPont posted a loss of $82 million, or 9 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 compared with net income of $331 million, or 33 cents per share, a year ago. Results for the latest quarter include items totaling 42 cents per share for taxes associated with repatriation of overseas earnings under the American Jobs Creation Act, and charges for hurricane damage. The year-ago period includes a $35 million tax benefit.

Excluding items, profit for the 2005 quarter was 33 cents per share, compared with a mean estimate of 29 cents from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Net sales rose to $5.87 billion from $5.74 billion, as prices increased 4 percent, more than offsetting higher energy and ingredient costs.

The company's electronics and communication technologies division saw a more than threefold increase in pretax operating income, while the pharmaceuticals and safety and protection segments each posted double-digits gains. In addition, the agriculture and nutrition division pared its operating loss by about $49 million.

DuPont, which said the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast reduced third-quarter earnings by 10 cents per share, indicated that plant damage inflicted by the storms will hurt results for the fourth quarter. Factoring in an expected decline in operating profit at the agriculture segment, DuPont forecast fourth quarter profit of 20 cents to 25 cents per share.

Analysts are currently forecasting profit of 37 cents per share.

Under the stock repurchase program, DuPont has agreed to buy about 75.7 million of its shares from the investment firm Goldman Sachs on Oct. 27 for $39.62 a share. Goldman Sachs will then purchase an equivalent number of shares in the open market over the next nine months. At the end of this period, DuPont may receive from or be required to pay to Goldman Sachs a price adjustment based upon the volume weighted average price of DuPont shares during this period.

DuPont plans to make the remaining $2 billion repurchase over the 12 months following the completion of the accelerated share repurchase program with Goldman in mid-2006.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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