DuPont profit jumps as margins improve

DuPont, the biggest U.S. chemicals producer by market value, reported a 52 percent jump in profit as operating margins rose in five of its seven businesses.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares rose in premarket trading. (Get the latest quotes for DuPont.)

Read MoreActivist investor Peltz wants DuPont to break up

The company posted third-quarter earnings excluding items of 54 cents per share, up from 45 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue increased to $7.87 billion from $7.74 billion a year ago.

Analysts had expected DuPont to report earnings of roughly 53 cents a share on $7.95 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The company backed its full-year adjusted earnings forecast of $4.00 to $4.10 a share, and said it expects its adjusted fourth-quarter earnings per share to be up about 20 percent from EPS of 59 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Debate It: Peltz's DuPont strategy
Debate It: Peltz's DuPont strategy   

"In the third quarter, we improved our operating margins in five of seven segments and grew operating earnings per share 20 percent, despite a weaker Ag environment and sluggish economic growth in most of the world," DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman said in a statement.

The chemicals giant has come under scrutiny from European anti-trust regulators, who say that DuPont's recent agreements with Honeywell to develop refrigerants for automobile cooling systems may be anti-competitive.

Trian Fund, headed by activist investor Nelson Peltz, has issued calls to break up the conglomerate into smaller companies, separating the stable industrial chemicals and materials businesses from those that are more volatile.

—Reuters and CNBC's Robert Ferris contributed to this report.