NEW YORK—Dow Chemical Co.'s top official confirmed the firm is engaging in a huge divestment program while expressing optimism about the North American economy at a company-sponsored media event.
At the company-sponsored media event in New York Dec. 3, Andrew Liveris, Dow chairman and CEO, provided no details on the company's plan to divest within the next 12 month businesses that generate $1 billion in annual sales. In late October, Midland, Mich.-based Dow announced it will close about 20 plants worldwide and eliminate 2,400 jobs.
That announcement came only six months after Dow confirmed it will cut 900 jobs worldwide by closing four plants that made polyurethane feedstocks and expanded polystyrene foam.
Like many global firms, Dow is struggling with a weak European economy and slowing growth in Asia. But Liveris singled out the U.S. market as "a bright spot" for Dow.
The North American automotive and construction markets "both should be up" in 2013, he said, adding that the U.S. "is moving into territory that could lead the world out of a two to two and a half percent GDP growth level."
Regarding Dow's plans to build a massive plant making plastic feedstock ethylene in Freeport, Texas, Liveris said that the project "is moving ahead and is going through the permitting process."
He stopped short, however, at saying if the project—set to open in 2017—will include new polyethylene resin capacity.