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NATION / WORLD: CHEMICALS

DuPont to Reorganize Business Groups

April 08, 1998|Bloomberg News

DuPont Co. said it will reorganize its chemicals business to focus on agricultural, biotechnology and pharmaceutical products, leading to speculation that it may sell or spin off its Conoco energy unit. Investors have called for the company, which makes everything from Teflon nonstick coatings to Stainmaster carpet fibers, to concentrate on fewer businesses. Charles Holliday, who became chief executive of the nation's largest chemicals company on Feb. 1, said agriculture, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals will drive the company's long-term growth. The chemicals and specialties businesses will be grouped into: life sciences, including pesticides and genetically engineered seeds; differentiated products such as Lycra; and foundation products, including chemicals and fibers. Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont generated slightly more than half its $45 billion in 1997 revenue from chemicals, fibers and specialty products. The Conoco energy unit accounted for the rest. Shares in DuPont jumped $4.81 to close at $72.50 on the NYSE.

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