PROFIT FALLS: DuPont reported a nearly 12 percent decline in second-quarter earnings Tuesday partly because of lower pricing for titanium dioxide, a widely used whitening pigment used in products ranging from automotive and house paints to toothpaste. Demand has been sluggish for the whitener for more than a year,

WEIGHING OPTIONS: The company, a global leader in production of titanium oxide, said it is exploring a possible sale or spinoff of its performance chemicals unit which houses the titanium dioxide business. CEO Ellen Kullman said that the markets for performance chemicals are cyclical and volatile, and that they have low growth profiles compared to other DuPont products.

TIMETABLE: Kullman said no decisions have been made and no timetable set for determining the future of the performance chemicals unit, which generated total sales of $7.2 billion in 2012.

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