Issue Date: February 23, 2009
Chemical Firms Scrounge For Cash To Pay Bills
Chemical companies are looking for sources of cash to increase liquidity and pay bills during these difficult economic times of low earnings and uncertain future demand. DuPont secured $897 million in financing by issuing investment-grade corporate bonds, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing. Arch Chemicals announced that it has a new $100 million term loan, which it immediately used to pay down a portion of its $350 million in revolving credit. This maneuver gives the company liquidity to help it pay $62 million in senior notes that mature in March. To conserve cash, DSM has decided to cancel the remaining $313 million of the current $940 million share buyback program announced in 2007. Balance-sheet concerns are also taking a bite out of dividend issuances. Kronos, a manufacturer of TiO2, suspended its regular dividend payment, saying it may use the additional liquidity to acquire pigment manufacturing facilities. Specialty chemical maker Clariant says it will suspend its regular quarterly dividend payments to conserve cash. And earlier this month, Dow Chemical announced that it would slash its dividend payment to 15 cents from 42 cents, the first time the company has lowered payments since 1912.
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