DuPont is restructuring its performance coatings business to improve profitability and competitiveness. Terry Caloghiris, group vice president for coatings and color technologies, says the initiative "will reduce annual costs in our coatings businesses by $165 million through facility consolidations and rebalancing our assets toward faster growing market segments and geographies." The plan calls for the company to close and consolidate laboratory and manufacturing sites, eliminating about 1,500 positions-about 2.5% of DuPont's workforce-mostly in Europe. It comes on the heels of a February announcement that the company would close its Troy, Mich., laboratory, thereby eliminating about 200 jobs, and merge it into a facility in Mount Clemens, Mich. The company says it will open new sites and enter new joint ventures in growing market areas. DuPont's coatings and color technologies segment posted a 3.4% increase in sales to $6.23 billion in 2005, but pretax operating income fell 21.4% to $564 million. The moves will result in a pretax charge of $165 million in the first quarter. Meanwhile, DuPont raised its estimate for first-quarter earnings to 80 cents per share from the 70 cents it had forecast in January. In the first quarter of 2005, the company had earnings of 90 cents per share.