DuPont Co to auction vehicle paint unit; expects $4 bn

DuPont Co has started the preliminary auction process for sale of its vehicle paint unit, a business that may fetch the US chemicals giant as much as $4 billion, Reuters yesterday reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The sale would be the Wilmington, Delaware-based company's third largest asset disposal since 2001, after it sold most of its pharmaceuticals business to Bristol-Myers Squibb for $7.8 billion and its fibres unit in 2004 to Koch Industries for $4.2 billion.

The company was reported to have started working towards the divestment in October 2011 (See:  DuPont Co mulls $4 billion sale of auto and vehicle paint division: report).

DuPont has hired Credit Suisse as adviser and Greenhill & Co to handle the sale. Credit Suisse has sent financial materials of the 'performance coatings' division to interested parties.

Not included in the sale is the smaller powder-coatings unit, which makes coatings for tractors and playground equipment, which DuPont plans to sell separately.

The performance coatings division, including the powder-coating unit, had revenues of $3.8 billion in 2010 and net income of $255 million.