Dow Chemical To Sell, Spin Off 40 Manufacturing Plants

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The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) announced Monday that it plans to spin off or sell 40 manufacturing plants. The announcement comes as The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) is trying to lower its dependence on cyclical commodity products. The plants generate about $5 billion in revenue and employ more than 2,000 workers, according to the Associated Press.

Biggest disposal in Dow Chemical’s history

The Midland, Michigan-based company has hired advisers to start the disposal process. The assets being disposed include the company’s brine operations, epoxy businesses and chlorine production units. The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) expects to shed them off within two years. Chief executive Andrew N. Liveris said that the company is shifting its focus to high margin technologies and products that customers value. Liveris said the move is aimed at streamlining the business and boosting total shareholder value.

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) recently exited its polypropylene licensing and catalysts business, taking the total divestitures to $700 million since November 2012. But the latest announcement is the biggest asset sale in the company’s history.

Dow Chemical to keep doing business with disposed units

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW)’s archrival E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD) is also aggressively shedding assets to streamline its business. Activist investor Nelson Peltz has taken a large position in the company to put pressure on the company. Last year, E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD) sold its performance coating unit for $4.9 billion. The company also plans to spin off its performance chemicals business into a new entity. Its shares have soared 36% this year.

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) is under no such activist pressure. But analysts think it may be vulnerable to activism. The company said it will keep doing business with the units it sells or spins off. That will require the buyers or newly listed companies to sign a supply and purchase agreement with the company. Executive vice president Jim Fitterling will oversee the disposal process.

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) shares jumped 1.43% to $39.62 at 10:18 AM EST.

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