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DuPont to Sell Surface Care Biz

Zacks Equity Research

Chemical giant DuPont (DD) has landed a deal to divest its surface care business to construction solutions provider LATICRETE for an undisclosed price. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory clearances and other closing conditions, is expected to company in late-June 2014.

DuPont’s surface care business offers products under StoneTech Professional, Stone Care and Paver Armor Pro monikers. It provides an array of solutions to protect and preserve stone and tile surfaces.

DuPont feels that the surface care business can effectively pursue its potential and address market needs though this transaction. LATICRETE has a significant exposure in the stone and tile market and offers complementary products.  

Following the takeover, LATICRETE will merge StoneTech, Stone Care and Paver Armor Pro branded products with its existing offerings that are already placed in professional and retail channels globally.

DuPont is disposing a number of assets as it is gradually shifting its focus to high growth businesses, including agriculture. The company is spinning off its struggling Performance Chemicals division (expected to close by mid-2015) that consists of Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts businesses.

Moreover, DuPont is divesting its glass laminating solutions and vinyls business to Japan-based fibers maker Kuraray. The company also sold its performance coatings business to equity firm The Carlyle Group (CG) last year.

DuPont is expected gain from incremental opportunities in its agriculture business in 2014, backed by higher demand for its corn seeds and crop protection products. The company is witnessing healthy demand for its corn hybrids and expects continued strong growth in crop protection driven by new products. DuPont has numerous new products in its pipeline that are expected to create value for its customers.  

DuPont is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.

Other companies in the chemical space worth considering include Compass Minerals International Inc. (CMP) and PetroLogistics LP (PDH). While Compass Minerals retains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), PetroLogistics sports a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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