Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) plans to generate $1.5 billion from selling assets including polypropylene- producing technology as the biggest U.S. chemical maker focuses on its most profitable units.
Dow plans to complete the sales in the next 18 months, the Midland, Michigan-based company said today in a statement. The divestitures exceed a forecast on Dec. 3, when Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said the company expected to unload as much as $1 billion of assets.
Liveris is paring Dow’s operations after announcing in October that it would cut 5 percent of its workers, close plants and defer investments. Liveris said in December that the moves were aimed at boosting adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $10 billion a year in “the near term,” a goal that dates back to 2009.
“We are reviewing our entire portfolio and seeking even further opportunities to optimize value: selectively pruning assets that are no longer a strategic or financial fit,” Liveris said in today’s statement.
Financial information on the units to be marketed won’t be released, said Nancy Lamb, a Dow spokeswoman.
Dow plans to sell the polypropylene licensing and catalyst business, which includes the Unipol process used for polypropylene production. The most likely buyers are W.R. Grace & Co., Albemarle Corp. (ALB), BASF SE (BAS) and LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB), Laurence Alexander, a New York-based analyst at Jefferies & Co., said in a note today. The unit should sell for at least 9 times to 10 times Ebitda, he said.
The plastics additives unit also is among the planned divestitures. The business supplies additives such as acrylic polymers, processing aids and impact modifiers for products used in construction, packaging, electronics and auto parts, Lamb said.
Dow rose 1.4 percent to $33.67 at the close in New York.
Dow’s adjusted Ebitda fell to $7.45 billion last year, from $8.39 billion in 2011, the company said in January.
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