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DuPont to sell Delrin acetal homopolymer unit to private equity firm

Sale furthers move away from traditional industrial chemical businesses

by Alexander H. Tullo
August 22, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 28

A photo of two yellow Dunlop guitar picks lying an a wooden table.
Credit: Alex Tullo/C&EN
Many guitar picks are made out of Delrin.

In another exit from a traditional chemical business, DuPont has struck a deal to sell an 80.1% interest in its Delrin acetal homopolymer unit to the private equity firm TJC. The transaction values the business at $1.8 billion.

DuPont left Delrin out of the $11 billion sale of its engineering-polymer business to Celanese, completed last November, because Celanese had a similar acetal business of its own. Instead, DuPont decided to separately divest the Delrin unit, which has annual sales of about $550 million.

DuPont has been making Delrin since the 1950s. Acetal resins are stiff, have a low-friction surface, are resistant to wear, and are dimensionally stable. As a result, they are widely used in functional mechanical parts such as plastic gears.

DuPont is receiving $1.25 billion in cash and a note receivable of $350 million. It is retaining a 19.9% stake in the business. In a statement, DuPont CEO Edward Breen says keeping the share will allow “DuPont to participate in future upside potential.”

In a report to clients, Jefferies stock analyst Laurence Alexander says the sale continues DuPont’s portfolio transformation. “DuPont intends to focus on the higher-margined electronics and healthcare businesses, and intends to de-emphasize lower-margined industrial segments,” Alexander writes.

DuPont sold its nutrition and biosciences business to International Flavors & Fragrances in 2021, merged its agrochemical business with Dow’s as part of a broader transaction between the two companies in 2017, and spun off a chemical business as Chemours in 2015.

TJC, formerly The Jordan Company, isn’t a stranger to the chemical industry. Companies in its portfolio include Vantage Specialty Chemicals and the plastics-formulation firm Spartech.



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