US Dow's basic businesses attracts dozen suitors - Liveris

03 February 2009 18:39  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US major Dow Chemical has found more than a dozen potential buyers for its basic plastics and chemicals businesses, after the segments were spurned by Petrochemical Industries Co (PIC) of Kuwait, Dow CEO Andrew Liveris said on Tuesday.

Dow is now narrowing down the list of potential buyers, Liveris said. It has even started face-to-face negotiations with some of the buyers, he added.

To make the deal more attractive, Dow may package other assets in the sale, Liveris said during an earnings conference call.

"We have 12 assets that we are working on right now - including the K-Dow assets - of varying sizes, with divestment teams and also investment banks to work out which ones are realisable," Liveris said. He did not name the assets.

Initially, Dow intended to spin off its basic businesses into K-Dow Petrochemicals, a joint venture it was to form with PIC. Once the joint venture closed, Dow would have received $7.5bn (€5.9bn) from PIC and a $1.5bn cash distribution from K-Dow Petrochemicals.

PIC backed out of the joint, leading Liveris to accuse the company of breaching the joint-venture agreement. Dow has since started an arbitration process in London with PIC, he said.

In addition, Dow has sued "other Kuwaiti parties", Liveris said. He did not name the parties or the venue.

In all, Dow is seeking more than $2.5bn in damages, Dow said.

After the K-Dow deal failed, Dow missed a deadline to close its $18.8bn merger with Rohm and Haas.

Rohm and Haas then sued Dow in Delaware Chancery Court, asking for the merger to close immediately.

Dow is ready to discuss any options that would allow it to close the merger that would make the combined company successful, Liveris said. 

"Proceeding with the deal at this time under these conditions would do irreparable harm to our mutual stakeholders and would jeopardise the future of both companies," Liveris said. "It is in the best interest of both Dow and Rohm and Haas to delay closing until the economic uncertainties are resolved."

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Al Greenwood
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