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Du Pont to close four European plants

Chemicals maker E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. said yesterday it plans to cut 1,500 jobs and close four plants in Europe in a restructuring of its performance coatings business, and raised its overall earnings outlook. Du Pont officials said the restructuring, which will take about 18 months to complete, will reduce annual costs by about $165-million (U.S.). In a separate announcement, the company raised its first-quarter profit guidance to 80 cents a share, up from a January estimate of 70 cents. For 2006, Du Pont revised its earnings estimate to $2.70 a share, up 10 cents from its earlier projection. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast per-share profit, excluding special items, of 71 cents in the first quarter and $2.64 for the year. DD (NYSE) rose 95 cents (U.S.) to $42.87. AP

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