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DuPont takes what may be its final form

Slimmed down to three performance material units, company says it will benefit from economic recovery

by Melody M. Bomgardner
February 1, 2021

After several years of restructuring, a slimmed down and financially secure DuPont is re-introducing itself to the world this week.

DuPont spun out of DowDuPont in 2019 with four main units and a number of businesses its executives were on the fence about. Now, after closing the sale of its nutrition and biosciences division to International Flavors & Fragrances and making decisions about other businesses, CEO Ed Breen says the company is ready to grow as the economy begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

And then there were three
DuPont slims down to three segments after the sale of its nutrition unit.
A pie chart showing pro forma sales figures for DuPont's 3 business units electronics and industrial, mobility and materials, and water and protection are shown.
Note: Figures are pro forma 2020 net sales based on preliminary results announced by DuPont Jan. 26, 2021.

The new DuPont has three divisions—electronics and industrial, mobility and materials, and water and protection—that had combined sales last year of roughly $13.7 billion.

DuPont has decided to keep three small businesses that it had considered selling: Tedlar film, microcircuit materials, and its share in the DuPont Teijin Films joint venture. They will be in the mobility and materials division.

But the company has found new owners for three other businesses. Most recently, an international group of private equity firms has agreed to buy DuPont Clean Technologies, which provides alkylation, sulfuric acid regeneration and other emission control technologies, for $510 million in cash.

In September, DuPont sold its 40% stake in Hemlock Semiconductor to partners Corning and Shin-Etsu Handotai, for $725 million. The next month it sold its biomaterials unit, including its part of the Sorona propanediol joint venture with Tate & Lyle, to an undisclosed buyer for $240 million.

Also helping to stabilize the company’s financial future is a recent agreement with Chemours to share future liabilities related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution. DuPont and Corteva Agriscience will take on half the cost up to $4 billion.

With those details settled, DuPont says it’s ready to invest the $7.3 billion in proceeds from the IFF deal in its remaining businesses. It will start by using $5 billion to retire debt.

DuPont’s experienced leadership and high-value businesses put it in a good position to benefit from customer growth, particularly in auto, semiconductor, and mobile device manufacturing, says Aziza Gazieva, an analyst at Fermium Research, an investment research and advisory firm.

Gazieva points to materials DuPont is contributing for new mobile phone antenna components, which bring the company an estimated $2 per phone. “The stars are aligning for recovery—if a true recovery is underway,” she says. “The upside is heightened by the leadership of DuPont’s CEO, Ed Breen.”



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