DuPont Informs Ag Employees on Sell-offs

30.03.2017 -

DuPont has begun talks with employees of agrochemicals facilities it plans to divest in exchange for EU approval of its $130 million merger with Dow Chemical. According to US reports, one of the business earmarked for separation is the Stine-Haskell pesticide lab and field-testing complex at Newark in the chemical group’s home state of Delaware. DuPont is said to be keeping other crop protection activities at the site, along with staff and production facilities.

“We are grateful for the European Union. They saved our jobs," a veteran R&D staffer is quoted as telling reporters. The workforce had feared layoffs such as those seen elsewhere at DuPont unit as DuPont and Dow search for ways to trim $3 billion costs in preparation for the merger. Agriculture-related units in India are also said to be on the sale list. Buyers for the divested businesses are expected to be announced in late April.

One of the Stine-Haskell R&D facility’s 600 employees, who spoke anonymously to local media, said staff were told their unit would be sold to an unnamed competitor, which they hoped would be Philadelphia-based FMC, North Carolina-based Arysta Life Sciences or another company looking to expand. Strings attached to the merger by the European Commission require that the business be sold on to an innovative company.

DuPont plans to divest the insecticides Rynaxyphyr (licensed to Arysta) and Cyazypyr, along with Indoxacarb, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls a reduced-risk substitute for organophosphates, in addition to several sulfuron herbicides.

In the run-up to a sale, the spun-off businesses are to be headed by Jean Pougnier, development director of DuPont's crop protection business.

Breen is said to have told employees the group will retain more than half of its crop protection activities in the merger. He said the new agriculture company, one of three to be created in a subsequent split, will have “an excellent portfolio in corn and soy broadleaf and grass control, a robust cereal weed control portfolio, DuPont's strong position in disease control, and Dow AgroSciences' industry leading insecticide portfolio."