By SIMON CASEY
Dow Chemical, the largest US chemical maker by sales, plans
to separate chlorine-related assets including its epoxy
business as the company focuses on higher-margin activities.
The chlorine assets account for as much as $5 billion of
annual revenue and include plants at 11 sites employing
almost 2,000 people, Midland, Michigan-based Dow said Monday
in a statement.
Dow said it hired financial advisers to look at options for
the assets including sales, joint ventures and spinoffs. It
expects to complete transactions for the assets in the next
year or two.
The move represents a continuation of the shift of our
company toward downstream high-margin products and
technologies that customers value, and generate consistently
higher returns than cyclical commodity products, CEO
Andrew N. Liveris said in the statement.
Like competing US chemical producers DuPont and Ashland, Dow
is selling or considering the sale of business lines as it
attempts to unlock growth. Dow said in October that WR Grace
& Co. agreed to buy its polypropylene licensing and
catalyst unit for $500 million.
In October, Dow forecast $3 billion to $4 billion from asset
sales in the following 18 to 24 months. The company had said
previously that these assets may be sold.
Dow also said Monday that it plans to shut down about 800,000
tons of chlorine and caustic equivalent capacity in Freeport,