DuPont changes may have area plant impact

WILMINGTON, Del. – DuPont on Tuesday announced changes to its leadership team and said it is exploring strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemicals segment, which might include potential impacts for the company’s Washington Works site in Wood County.

The steps are part of DuPont’s transformation to a higher growth, less cyclical company that integrates its scientific capabilities in biology, chemistry and materials to develop differentiated, high-value solutions in the agriculture and nutrition, industrial biosciences and advanced materials markets worldwide, according to a DuPont press release.

DuPont’s consideration of strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemical segment may include a full or partial separation of each of these businesses from the company through a spin-off, sale or other transaction, the press release said. The segment includes Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts businesses which generated total sales of $7.2 billion in 2012. DuPont may pursue a different strategic alternative for each business, the release said.

Robin Ollis-Stemple, spokeswoman for the Washington Works site, said the local facility does serve the Performance Chemical segment of DuPont, along with other DuPont businesses. She said it is too early to tell if there will be any impact on the Wood County site since those issues are still being studied by the company at this time.

“It’s too early to speculate about what the outcome will be,” Ollis-Stemple said.

The company press release said DuPont’s decision to explore strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemicals businesses reflects its ongoing portfolio review to determine how best integrated science can contribute to growth and the optimal mix of businesses for maximizing shareholder value. This follows DuPont’s sale of its Performance Coatings business earlier this year and the acquisition of Danisco in 2011.

“As we discussed at our Investors Day in May, we have been carefully weighing the strong cash generation of our Performance Chemicals businesses against their cyclicality and lower growth profile, as well as where the power of DuPont’s integrated science can be differentiated,” said DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman. “We are evaluating options for our Performance Chemicals businesses as part of our ongoing plan to deliver higher growth and greater value creation for our shareholders.”

The primary actions currently being taken by DuPont involve changes in its leadership structure, the press release said. James C. Collins Jr., who currently leads the Industrial Biosciences business, will become senior vice president where he will report to Kullman and oversee the Industrial Biosciences, Performance Polymers and Packaging & Industrial Polymers businesses. A 29-year veteran of DuPont, Collins led the Danisco acquisition integration team before assuming his current role.

In addition, Matthew L. Trerotola will rejoin DuPont and report to Kullman as senior vice president with responsibility for the Protection Technologies, Building Innovations, and Sustainable Solutions businesses. A previous DuPont corporate officer, Trerotola is familiar with DuPont’s strong brands. Most recently, he was vice president and group executive of life sciences for the Danaher Corporation.