Dow Ups Divestiture Target Once Again

14.11.2014 -

Under consistent pressure from an activist shareholder, Dow Chemical has once again widened the financial scope of its divestiture plans. From the original target of assets worth $1.5-2 billion, the largest US chemical player now has its eye on shedding sales of $7-8.5 billion by 2016, CEO Andrew Liveris said.

Since announcing the first divestment plans in 2013, Dow has raised its target successively. The most recent prior goal was to realize proceeds of $4.-6 billion in proceeds by the end of 2015.

Since 2013, the Midland, Michigan-based group has generated proceeds of $2.5 billion from asset sales, in the CEO's words, "reallocating the capital to remunerate shareholders, fund growth and reduce the debt."

"As part of our ongoing process to drive value through a best owner mind-set and using economic value-add as our lens, we are consistently looking across our portfolio to identify additional sources of long-term value creation and maximize the returns on the capital we invest," Liveris added.

In this vein, he said Dow "continues to assess opportunities to enhance the value created across its portfolio, including rationalizing its position in major joint ventures and divesting businesses that, while valuable, no longer align with its integration strategy."

As a further step in this direction, the chemical producer has also announced plans to reduce its equity position in all of its Kuwait joint ventures, in order to "release capital for other strategic purposes." In particular, MEGlobal and Equate Petrochemical have been mentioned.

Liveris told journalists in Texas that the Kuwaitis are planning projects to boost production that Dow will not contribute to, thus reducing its financial stake. The CEO also hinted that the group plans to monetize some of its stakes in those ventures, accounting for part of the increased divestiture goal.

The US chemical group has also announced the signing of a definitive agreement for the divestiture of its Angus Chemical business in the US state of Illinois to San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $1.215 billion in net proceeds. Angus manufactures chemicals for paints and metalworking.