By Mike McNulty, Rubber & Plastics News staff
Midland, Michigan - Dow Chemical Co. is cash-rich and heading in a new direction.
The company was product-driven, now it is market-driven, according to Balaji Singh, president of Houston-based Chemical Market Resources.
Because of that, the firm's thermoplastic urethane elastomer line and its synthetic rubber unit are on the examination table and could eventually be sold, axed or moved to a joint venture, a Dow Chemical spokesman said.
Both are part of a major realignment taking place at the company. The SR and Pellethane TPU units-along with Saran food wrap products, other speciality films, polycarbonate, compounds and blends, and speciality copolymers-are the first to be lumped together under the newly created Dow Portfolio Optimization group with the goal of defining how best to maximise the long-term value of each unit.
After a thorough review and analysis, a spokesman said, the group will determine where to proceed with each business. That could include realignment to another Dow operation, placement in a current joint venture, creation of a JV with another company or divestiture, he said.
"Essentially, there are some businesses that aren't currently placed well for growth," the spokesman said. By putting each unit under the spotlight, the proper determination can be made, he said, and if a business doesn't fit anywhere, it's sold.
George Biltz, who currently heads the company's Specialty Plastics and Elastomers operation, has been appointed business group president of Dow Portfolio Optimization.
Dow Chemical expects to put other businesses into the group as they are assessed for alignment with the firm's transformation strategy.