Dow, DuPont say mega merger will bring change

Although Dow says it’s “too preliminary to comment on broader impact at this time” on facilities like Union Carbide in Hahnville from its mega $120 billion merger with DuPont, company executives have announced change is coming.

On Friday, the two American industrial giants – Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co. and Delaware-based DuPont Co. – announced a merger that would change the chemical and agricultural industries. If federally approved, the move would make two of the nation’s oldest corporations into a new company – DowDuPont, the world’s second largest chemical company to BASF.

According to a DuPont release, the plan is to pursue a separation into three, independent publicly traded companies within 24 months. They will focus on agriculture and chemicals, material sciences such as plastics used in packaging, and automobiles and specialty products.

DowDuPont’s newly created board will oversee the process to determine the spinoff companies’ structure.

St. Charles Parish does have a role in the mega deal.In Hahnville, Dow’s St. Charles Operations (SCO) is on a 2,000-acre petrochemical manufacturing complex. SCO is owned by Union Carbide Corp., a Dow Chemical Co. subsidiary that began operations in 1966.

A Dow spokesperson says it’s too early to comment on the merger’s broader impact, but also added, “ …we expect to grow the new organization over the longer term, which may lead to new roles and new employment opportunities in the future.”

Experts predict fewer high-paying executive jobs for Delaware, as well as a loss of DuPont’s headquarters likely moving out of state.

DuPont plans to lay off 5,000 workers worldwide or about 10 percent of its workforce before the merger as part of the company’s plan to reduce costs by $1.6 billion by 2017.Dow’s SCO has 1,000 employees and 1,500 contractors.

According to Dow, the site generates a $106 million payroll annually and more than $185 million in purchases from Louisiana companies.

Johnny Chavez Jr. has been the SCO site leader since April 2014.

SCO products include plastics, insecticides, films and fabrics, antifreeze, jet fuel, brake fluid, paints and adhesives, textiles, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, personal care products, toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, cleaning agents, detergents, fabric softeners, animal feed supplements and more.

The industrial park has companies on site, including numerous transportation options and a new state-of-the-art truck staging area. Electricity and steam are generated on the site, as well as three water treatment plants, according to Dow’s website.

Overall, Union Carbide Corp. is a chemical and polymers company with more than 2,400 employees. In 1920, Dow researchers developed an economical way to make ethylene from natural gas, giving birth to the modern petrochemicals industry.

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