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An Old Dog with New Tricks

February 6, 2012

Nowadays we hear of new startup companies that become the darling of the business world for their new innovative product or service that promises great financial returns. Innovation seems to be attributed to the newer companies. The old companies appear to be getting left behind.

If you think about it, some of these companies got to be old because they have stayed relevant. They would have died long ago had they not been producing products that sell, produce profits, and keeps the company as a going concern.  There are of course old companies that are on the brink of collapse, just living on restructured finance, with an uncertain future.

There is one old dog of a company that by the looks of it will just keep getting older, while other companies including the younger ones will die for various reasons. This is Dupont, it was founded in 1802. A quick calculation shows that it’s around 210 years old. They managed to reach this old age by always innovating, producing new and relevant products for the market.

Their first product was black powder for explosives. They didn’t stop there, but later on concentrated on chemicals, materials and energy, aware of the changing needs of society and finding ways to meet these needs.  Dupont looks to science for its innovative products and they have been very productive. In 2010 the company had patents for more than 35,000 of their inventions.  That is around one invention ever other day for 208 years!  This company knows what innovation is all about. It produces innovations.

Some of their more well-known products that have strongly impacted the global market include Teflon and Kevlar. They are even in agriculture with their Pioneer seed brand.  This company develops many new products and goes into business with the more promising ones. Yet it is also into licensing many of its intellectual property rights to interested companies.

How important are Dupont’s innovations? Even the U.S. government gets into the act. It has recently accused the Chinese government of trying to steal trade secrets from Dupont.

Dupont’s success can be seen it its financials. For 2011, net sales totaled $37.96 billion with a net income of $3.47 billion.  This old dog just keeps producing new tricks.

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