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Poor Choice For Company Of The Year

March 23, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 12

Query For Readers

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I WAS EXTREMELY disappointed by the choice of Huntsman Corp. as the 2009 company of the year for its efforts to fight Hexion Specialty Chemicals' parent company Apollo Management regarding a failed takeover (C&EN, Jan. 5, page 17). Other companies given consideration were Dow Chemical for the acquisition of Rohm and Haas and BASF for the recent proposed acquisition of Ciba. I question the choice of multi-billion-dollar acquisitions as criteria for this article.

I personally know outstanding scientists at all three of the aforementioned targeted companies whose lives and careers potentially will be disrupted by these acquisitions due to anticipated job eliminations or relocations. Worse, most of the acquisitions will not result in an increase in shareholder value as up to 83% of mergers and acquisitions fail to increase shareholder value, according to a 1999 KPMG report.

Perhaps the company of the year should be the chemical company that had the leadership to best navigate through a very difficult raw material, energy, and financial environment while maintaining both shareholder value and job opportunities, with an emphasis on the latter. Balchem Corp., Stepan Co., and American Vanguard Corp. might be reasonable corporations to investigate using my suggested criteria. But please do not put forth and hold in high honor corporations whose leadership has taken decisions that will potentially result in thousands of job losses in the chemical industry.

David A. Binder
Saddle Brook, N.J.


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