DuPont transitions from chemicals to agribusiness [video]

DuPont continued its transition away from a chemical business when its board of directors voted to spin off its performance chemical unit this week.


DuPont Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman spoke about the changes in separate interviews to CNBC and Bloomberg business channel from the WHYY’s studio in Wilmington.

“This is a part of the strategic process we’ve been running since 2009.  We’ve been studying performance chemicals and what we found is that it is a low growth, high volatility, but high margins.  It can be a strong independent chemical company,” said Kullman.

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DuPont has 90 manufacturing sites around the world, including a plant in Edgemoor.  When the transition is complete in about 18 months, there will be about 7,000 employees worldwide in the new company.  

Kullman said in her Bloomberg interview that DuPont shareholders will benefit from having stock in the main company and a “high growth chemical company.”

DuPont made a major shift in its business model in 2012 when it acquired Danisco foods.  

Kullman said this process has been taking place since the recession of 2009 when DuPont looked for ways to cope with a changing economy.  She described the recent Congressional battle over the budget and the debt ceiling as unsettling for business.

“Kicking the can down the road creates a lot of economic uncertainty.  We need to get a longer term resolution that can create a stronger economic environment for us,” Kullman said.  She added she saw a slow down of economic activity in the third quarter, as the threat of a government shutdown came at the beginning of October.

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