DowDuPont Inc. selling out on sustainability?

08.05.2019

During a May 2 conference call, DowDuPont said it is moving six units into a new non-core segment as it considers options, including divestment.

aIncoming company CEO Marc Doyle who will take over from ED Breen as DuPont’s CEO said the non-core units are photovoltaic and advanced materials, biomaterials – including corn-derived Sorona textiles - clean technologies, sustainable solutions, the Hemlock Semiconductor Group joint venture and the DuPont Teijin Films joint venture.
Questions were raised, as four of the six operations be considered for divestment involve environmentally-oriented products. DowDuPont CEO Ed Breen, who will be chairman of DuPont, responding by explaining that “they are more volatile assets than I would want in my portfolio.”
The businesses totalled $2B in revenues and generated about $500 million of operating earnings last year, said Doyle.
Previously, in November 2018, Breen had sold off DowDuPont’s cellulosic ethanol business, which converts the inedible parts of the corn plant into motor fuel, including a $200 million Iowa biorefinery that opened in 2015. The DuPont cellulosic ethanol plant in the town of Nevada, in Iowa, USA was sold to the US subsidiary of German biofuels company's Verbio.
Verbio plans to start construction to transition the plant from ethanol to renewable natural gas in the spring, with commercial production of renewable transportation fuel ready to go by summer 2020.

DowDuPont, the company that resulted following the merger of equals in August 2017, is currently in the process of breaking up into three independent publicly traded companies, with Dow being dedicated to commodity chemical production, DuPont to specialty chemical production, and Corteva to agricultural chemicals. Dow, the Materials Science division, was successfully spun off on April; the Agriculture and Speciality divisions will be split up in June 2019.