Dow Chemical to Divest Three More Businesses
Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW – $50.69) said it is in the process of selling off three of its businesses, and now expects the proceeds of its entire divestiture program to be at the higher end of its $4.5 billion to $6 billion range. Dow has been working this year to shed billions in low-margin business and to streamline its operations as part of its plan to divest up to $6 billion by 2015. The company has faced pressure from activist investor Daniel Loeb, who has urged the company to split off its petrochemicals business from segments that make specialty chemicals. Dow is now actively marketing its Angus Chemical Company, Sodium Borohydride and AgroFresh businesses for divestment, which could yield proceeds of more than $2 billion. Dow added it has completed the sale of a portion of its North America rail car fleet for nearly $450 million. Last week it announced plans to carve-out its U.S. Gulf Coast epoxy and chlorine businesses with signed agreements expected in the second quarter of 2015. Separately Dow said Univation Technologies LLC, its joint venture with ExxonMobil Chemical Co., will become a Dow subsidiary, as part of its efforts to streamline its joint ventures. While the company did not elaborate on the use of the proceeds from divestiture sales, I would assume that it will be used to increase dividends, pare back debt, buyback shares and possibly make strategic acquisitions in complimentary high-growth areas. The shares can continue to be held.