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Dow puts new Styron business up for sale

The Dow Chemical Company is looking to sell off a newly formed unit that includes its styrenics and polycarbon...


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August 3, 2009 by Canadian Plastics

The Dow Chemical Company is looking to sell off a newly formed unit that includes its styrenics and polycarbonate holdings.

The unit — named Styron — will include Dow’s polystyrene, ABS, SAN, PC, styrene monomer, styrene-butadiene rubber and latex assets. Those businesses have annual sales of about US$5 billion.

Officials at Midland, Mich.-based Dow hope to sell the unit for between US$1 billion and US$2 billion.

According to Dow, the unit will have its own chief executive and chief financial officers until a buyer is found, who will oversee 1,500 employees at 40 plants worldwide. The unit also will include Dow’s 50 per cent share in Americas Styrenics, the PS/styrene joint venture that was formed with Chevron Phillips in 2007.

“These are good quality businesses with good earnings, but they’re simply not core to our future direction,” Dow chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said in a statement. 

Dow currently ranks as the world’s largest PS maker, based on annual capacity, with a market share of about 13 per cent. Americas Styrenics also leads the North American PS field, based on annual sales, with a market share of about 30 per cent. The new Styron unit will rank second in global capacity in styrene monomer, and tied for the top spot in North American sales.

According to Liveris, Dow continues to talk with potential partners in Kuwait and at two other state-owned firms about a joint venture involving Dow’s olefins and derivatives business, including polyethylene.