Dow to sell polypropylene catalyst business to W.R. Grace

Reuters

* Sale part of Dow's plan to divest non-core businesses

* Deal expected to close by year end

* W.R. Grace shares up 2 pct

Oct 11 (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co will sell itspolypropylene licensing and catalysts business to smaller peerW.R. Grace & Co for $500 million as the U.S. chemicalmaker looks to shed its non-core businesses.

The sale is a part of Dow Chemical's plan to sell non-corebusinesses worth about $1.5 billion by next year.

The business provides technology and catalysts to makepolypropylene, used to manufacture plastics and syntheticfabrics.

W.R. Grace shares were up 2 percent on Friday morning on theNew York Stock Exchange.

Under the deal, W.R. Grace will acquire Dow Chemical'spolypropylene catalysts manufacturing plant at Norco, Louisianaand customer contracts, licenses, intellectual property andinventory.

Dow Chemical Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said the companywould divest more businesses in the next 12 months and focus onmaking high-margin products for markets such as electronics,water, packaging and agriculture.

Like bigger rival DuPont, the company is focusing onagriculture products such as biotech seeds and pesticides, thedemand for which is being driven by an expanding globalpopulation.

DuPont said in July that it plans to exit its titanium paintpigments business to concentrate on its agriculture productsunit.

Dow Chemical, which has divested non-core businesses worthabout $8 billion in revenue since 2009, has said it wouldconsider selling its epoxy, construction and chlorinebusinesses.

About 90 Dow Chemical employees are expected to move to W.R.Grace, which makes specialty catalysts and additives used bypetroleum refiners.

W.R. Grace said it expected the transaction to close by theend of the year, pending regulatory approvals.

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