In December 2014, DuPont sold its Neoprene polychloroprene business to Denka Performance Elastomer L.L.C., a joint venture between Denka Kagaku Kogyo K.K. and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. Financial terms were not disclosed, but a Denka spokesman said the firm spent between $80 million and $110 million to acquire the facility.
The divestiture included its Pontchartrain Works facility in LaPlace, La., and affected 235 employees. Patrick Lindner, president of DuPont Performance Polymers, said at the time Denka would offer all affected employees employment with the joint venture.
Linder also said that Neoprene sales comprised less than 5 percent of DuPont Performance Polymers' revenues in 2013.
Denka Performance Elastomer was formed out of the acquisition. Its stakeholders include Tokyo-based Denka's 70 percent ownership and Mitsui, also based in Tokyo, owns the remaining 30 percent. The joint venture recently announced that its corporate headquarters would be established in La Place, creating 16 executive level jobs.
Earlier this year, DuPont attempted to improve its results by spinning off its struggling titanium dioxide unit—as well as Teflon-brand fluoropolymers—into a separate public company, Chemours.
Chemours recently said it is cutting its global work force by about 400, or nearly 5 percent of its total employee and contractor base, in a move that it said will cost about $45 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 but deliver annual savings of about $50 million.
On Nov. 2, the company announced another major change that involved plastics—a plan to consolidate two of its plastics-related units into a single business. As of Jan. 1, DuPont's Performance Polymers unit will merge with Packaging & Industrial Polymers. DuPont also is merging its Protection and Building Innovations units.
“By bringing these business units together under common management structures, we are creating business of more significant scale to better serve our customers,” Breen said at the time.
DuPont Performance Polymers includes nylon, acetal and polybutylene terephthalate resins, as well as thermoplastic elastomers and biopolymers. Packaging & Industrial Polymers includes polymer modifiers and additives and specialty resins used in adhesives, barriers, sealants and peelable lidding; as well as the DuPont Teijin Films business.
DuPont Teijin is North America's fifth-largest film and sheet business with estimated sales of almost $1.4 billion in 2014, according to a recent ranking by Rubber & Plastics News' sister publication, Plastics News.
In the first nine months of 2015, DuPont's sales fell 12 percent to $19.8 billion, with operating profit down 13 percent to $3.7 billion. Performance Materials sales fell 13 percent to just over $4 billion, with operating profit down 1 percent to $935 million.
Based on sales, Performance Materials ranked second among DuPont's six operating units in the nine-month period.
Plastics News and Rubber & Plastics News contributed to this report.