WILMINGTON, DEL. — E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., which earlier this month agreed to acquire Danisco for $5.8 billion, recorded a 73% gain in earnings during fiscal 2010. Net income in the year ended Dec. 31, 2010, totaled $3,031 million, equal to $3.32 per share on the common stock, up from $1,755 million, or $1.93 per share, in fiscal 2009. Net sales for fiscal 2010 were $31,505,000, up 21% from $26,109,000.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010, net income was $376 million, or 41c per share, down 15% from $441 million, or 48c per share, in the same period a year ago. Earnings excluding significant items totaled $463 million, or 50c per share, in the quarter, compared with $402 million, or 44 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. Net sales rose 15% to $7,404 million.

DuPont raised its full-year 2011 earnings guidance to a range of $3.45 to $3.75 per share, up from previous guidance of $3.30 to $3.60 per share. The company said the change reflects a lower base tax rate and reduced pension obligations, as well as continued global economic growth and industrial production. DuPont noted the impact of the planned Danisco acquisition may reduce 2011 earnings by 30c to 45c per share on a reported basis.

“The fourth quarter was a strong finish to an outstanding year,” said Ellen Kullman, chairman and chief executive officer. “We laid the groundwork for recovery in 2009 and executed with precision and effectiveness in 2010, meeting and often exceeding our business goals and financial commitments, some a full year early.”

Pre-tax operating income within the Agriculture & Nutrition division totaled $1,355 million in fiscal 2010, up 11% from fiscal 2009, while sales totaled $9,100 million, up 10%. For the fourth quarter, the division sustained a loss of $167 million, which compared with a loss of $95 million in the same period a year ago. Net sales totaled $1,500 million, up 13% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.

“Increased sales primarily reflect a strong start to the North American season, an increase in Latin America corn sales, an increase in Brazil soybean volume, and higher sales for crop protection products across all regions, led by continued expansion of Rynaxypyr insecticide,” DuPont said.