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UPDATE 2-DuPont to buy Laird Performance for $2.3 bln in electronics materials push

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·2 min read
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(Adds background, details)

March 8 (Reuters) - DuPont said on Monday it would buy Laird Performance Materials for $2.3 billion from private equity firm Advent International, as it looks to expand its portfolio of advanced electronic materials that is used in areas such as smart and autonomous vehicles and fifth generation telecommunications.

Rapidly increasing demand for these materials also used in high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and internet of things has led to electronics becoming a key growth area for DuPont.

The company last month forecast full-year profit and revenue above Wall Street expectations on the back of robust demand from chip companies and smartphone makers launching 5G handsets.

Sales in DuPont's electronics and imaging business, which account for about 20% of total revenue, rose 9% to $1.02 billion in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

The company, once part of the erstwhile chemical giant DowDuPont, said in February it plans to spend up to $2.5 billion of its $5 billion to $6 billion expected cash on mergers and acquisitions.

It had then said that it was working on two targets, adding it was more biased toward the electronics sector and to the electric vehicle space on the automotive side.

The industrial materials maker said it expects to realize about $60 million in pre-tax run-rate cost synergies by the end of 2024 with the majority realized in the first 18 months after the deal closes, which is expected in the third quarter of 2021.

The estimated one-time cost to achieve these synergies is about $40 million and DuPont expects the deal to be accretive to its operating core earnings margins, free cash flow, and adjusted earnings per share within the first 12 months.

DuPont also said on Monday it approved a new $1.5 billion share buyback program. (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)