DuPont may sell or spin off performance chemicals unit

US chemical giant DuPont today said it would sell or spin off its performance chemicals unit, including its paint pigments business.

The Delaware-based company said, ''DuPont's consideration of strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemical segment may include a full or partial separation of each of these businesses from the company through a spin-off, sale or other transaction.'' 

The segment includes Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts businesses, which generated total sales of $7.2 billion in 2012. 

DuPont, the world's second largest chemical company by market capitalisation behind BASF, may also pursue a different strategic alternative for each business.

The company said that its decision to explore strategic alternatives for its Performance Chemicals businesses reflects its ongoing portfolio review to determine how best integrated science can contribute to growth and the optimal mix of businesses for maximising shareholder value.

A proposed sale would be DuPont's fourth-largest asset disposal since 2001, after it sold most of its pharmaceuticals business to Bristol-Myers Squibb for $7.8 billion, its fibres unit in 2004 to Koch Industries for $4.2 billion and its Performance Coatings business earlier this year to private equity firm Carlyle Group for $4.9 billion.

''As we discussed at our Investors Day in May, we have been carefully weighing the strong cash generation of our Performance Chemicals businesses against their cyclicality and lower growth profile, as well as where the power of DuPont's integrated science can be differentiated,'' said DuPont CEO, Ellen Kullman.

''We are evaluating options for our Performance Chemicals businesses as part of our ongoing plan to deliver higher growth and greater value creation for our shareholders,'' he added.