2 growth drivers for DuPont
In the food sector, the company is focusing on developing better soy supplements and creating improved products to boost agricultural production.
Its bet on solar and other renewable energy seems to have stalled for the time being, with cutbacks in orders from companies making solar panels, electronics and other equipment. So DuPont has zeroed in on two products it thinks will drive most of its bottom line in coming years.
Both products are related to food industry -- one of the most important divisions of DuPont, accounting for nearly 32% of our $59 price estimate. It also nicely fits in with estimates that the world will have to feed an additional 10 billion people in the next 40 years.
DuPont competes with other chemical manufacturing majors like Dow Chemicals Company (DOW) and Bayer AG.
Increasing demand for soy
DuPont is looking to exploit the increasing demand for soy supplements by consumers who want to incorporate more protein in their diet. Soy supplements are extracted from soybeans after the plant is milled into a flour, and are popular among vegetarians and those who are lactose intolerant.
Soy protein has many health benefits and an increasing number of food companies are looking to incorporate them in their products. DuPont sells these soy supplements as a part of its Solae joint venture with Binge Ltd. It is among the few companies that make specialized ingredients used by large packaged food producers. Hence, DuPont feels that it will be able to capitalize well on this increasing demand for soy proteins.
Improved weed tolerance to pesticides
The farming community has shifted to genetically modified seeds, which offer resistance to herbicides and pesticides while producing a better yield. DuPont, like other companies, has also been bringing modified seeds to the market, which offer resistance to certain herbicides and pesticides as well as use less water in some regions.
With the growing population, agricultural production will have to double. This means an increased yield resulting in higher use of pesticides and herbicides. In such a scenario, demand for seeds and products enhancing crop protection to these chemicals is bound to increase, providing a great opportunity for DuPont to capture this market.
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The cosmetics company's disappointing earnings report is yet another illustration of how difficult the retail sector has become.
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