Major materials provider to the PV industry, DuPont reported Electronics & Communications segment sales of US$630 million in the fourth quarter, a decline 18% compared to the same period last year, with 33% lower volume which was offset by 15% higher prices. PV related revenue represent about 40% of DuPont’s electronics segment sales. Management noted that material destocking at PV manufacturers had continued in the fourth quarter due to inventory issues, impacting pre-tax earnings, which were down from US$56 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 to US$42 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
However, management noted in a conference call to discuss quarterly and full-year results that the PV destocking is expected to have been completed by mid-2012 or perhaps sooner as the company still expected the PV sector to grow approximately 10% this year.
Management also expected sales in the sector to be down modestly in the first quarter from fourth quarter levels with limited restocking.