Dow on the hunt for acquisitions

13 December 2007 17:45  [Source: ICIS news]

By Lucy Craymer


LONDON (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical is ready to go hunting for new acquisitions after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co that will benefit the company by $9.5bn.


At a press conference on Thursday, Dow chairman and chief executive Andrew Liveris described the signing of the MoU as a “penultimate” announcement.


“Our company is well equipped for mergers and acquisitions,” he said when asked what the ultimate announcement would be.


Dow CFO Geoffery Merszei said the company was not “adverse to any deal no matter what the size” and would pursue an aggressive merger and acquisition process.


The company said earlier this year it was looking at 60 possible acquisitions, joint ventures or divestments.


An investment meeting scheduled for November was postponed and Liveris said on Thursday this would be rescheduled now for the first half of 2008.


Robert Bauman, vice-president for polymers of the Nexant consultancy in Houston, Texas, said Thursday's announcement would likely be followed by an imminent acquisition.


“Given all the rumours about a potential acquisition going around, I would say we’ll see an announcement sooner rather than later – maybe within 3-6 months,” Bauman said by telephone.


Bauman added that Dow would likely be in a better position to reach other deals in the Middle East as a result of the transaction.

Several companies have been mentioned as possible acquisition targets.

Citigroup in a recent report described Celanese, Cytec, Valpsar or Ciba Specialty Chemicals as a good fit.

Dow has also been linked rather obliquely to the industrial gases players Air Products and Air Liquide.

Additional reporting by John Waggoner in Houston

By: Lucy Craymer
+44 20 8652 3214

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