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Dow Chemical accelerates discussions around new partnerships

07
Jan '09
The Dow Chemical Company announced a wide range of legal, operational and financial actions that will keep the Company on track to fulfill the transformational corporate strategy Dow has pursued since 2005.

Dow's strategy will continue to involve aggressive steps to establish Dow as a high-performance, earnings growth company organized around a strong portfolio of joint ventures and market-facing performance business divisions. Central to Dow's strategy is its commitment to retain a strong investment grade rating and to maximize shareholder return.

According to Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris, the recent decision by Dow's partners in Kuwait to abandon the terms of its Joint Venture Formation Agreement (JVFA) will not deter the Company from pursuing the transformational strategy that has been Dow's roadmap for future growth and profitability.

"While the events of the past week have been extremely disappointing and completely unexpected given where we were in the approval process, Dow is and will continue to be a strong, globally diverse company with a wide range of options available to us for delivering on our strategy. It is certainly true that the actions in Kuwait have accelerated the need for decisive action but our strategy remains as relevant as ever and will drive the choices we make to become a company that will thrive in the changing markets of the 21st century."

Dow to Pursue Legal and Other Options to Fulfill Rights under Kuwait Agreement
On December 31, 2008, Dow received official written notice from Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) of Kuwait that the closing must be postponed because the Kuwaiti Supreme Petroleum Council withdrew its earlier approval of the transaction. As a result, Dow has said it will seek to enforce its rights under the terms of the various agreements and the JVFA executed by Dow and PIC since the joint venture partnership was first announced in December 2007.

"We were shocked by this news, and this was completely unexpected given the approvals already received and the behavior, actions and words from our partners. We have over 1,500 documents prepared for closing for what we believed to be Day 1 of K-Dow Petrochemicals on January 2," said Liveris. "Pursuing legal options is not a decision we take lightly, especially because of the longstanding partnerships we have established in Kuwait over the past decade, but PIC is in breach of contract, and we must take action to protect the interests of our company and our shareholders."

Beyond K-Dow: New Partnerships, New Opportunities
Although Dow is prepared to close K-Dow immediately if PIC does indeed cure the breach of contract, the Company has already been approached by other interested parties about joint venturing with Dow for the basic plastics businesses. As a result, Dow has also announced it will establish a formal process to secure a joint venture partner to accomplish the goals of its asset light strategy. The core businesses involved in the K-Dow joint venture include strong Dow franchise businesses, among them the largest and strongest producer of polyethylene in the world. Polyethylene is the world's largest thermoplastic and for the last several decades has grown well above global GDP.


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