Dow Chemical to Sell Coatings Unit

Dow Chemical strikes a deal to sell its powder-coatings business, raising more cash to pay down its huge Rohm & Haas debt load.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Dow Chemical (DOW) - Get Report was able to gladden market players Thursday with a presentation to investors and further moves to raise cash so that it can reduce a heavy debt load brought on by its troubled acquistion of Rohm & Haas.

Top Dow executives were in New York Thursday for an investor and media pitch day. They also conducted a conference call with investors, in which they attempted to allay fears that the company had been set back by the Rohm deal and over-encumbered with debt.

Dow's chief, Andrew Liveris, said during the call that Rohm's business will add 10% to the combined company's top line, according to a


report, and will produce per-share earnings in 2012 of $4 to $4.50.

In keeping with all the Rohm-related talk, Dow before the bell announced an agreement to sell its powder-coatings division to Dutch chemicals maker

Akzo Nobel

. Though the sum was undisclosed, Dow did say that its moves to shed businesses, including the most recent sale, are on track to bring in more than $3.5 billion. The proceeds will likely be used to help service and pay down its merger-related loans.

Shares of the Midland, Mich.-based company shot higher by nearly 8% early in the regular session. At about 10:30 a.m. EDT, the stock was trading at $28.74, up $2.03, on volume of 7.8 million shares. Daily turnover in the name averages about 13.3 million.

Dow, which has struggled to integrate Rohm & Haas after absorbing the company in a troubled $16.3 billion deal earlier this year, has been selling off businesses in order to raise money to reduce debt brought on by the acquisition. A planned joint venture in Kuwait would have brought in proceeds to help cover the Rohm & Haas buy, but the JV fell apart last year, and Dow was left in a difficult spot. A legal battle essentially forced the company to swallow Rohm & Haas.

Earlier this year, the company

sold its Morton Salt unit

for $1.68 billion and has reportedly looked at divesting part of its AgroSciences unit.

But not yet. Also on Thursday, Dow said that the AgroSciences division struck a cross-licensing partnership with rival


(DD) - Get Report

to swap genetically tweaked soybean-seed technologies.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.