Dow Chemical Sells Morton Salt

Having completed its $16.5 billion buyout of Rohm & Haas, Dow said it will sell Morton Salt to a German fertilizer maker in a deal worth $1.675 billion.

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) -- Having completed its $16.5 billion buyout of Rohm & Haas, Dow Chemical Co. said it will sell Morton Salt to German fertilizer maker K+S Aktiengesellschaft in a deal valuing the former Rohm & Haas unit at $1.675 billion.

The sale, announced Wednesday, is part of Dow's plan to sell off non-core Rohm & Haas assets to pay down the hefty debt it had to take on to complete the purchase of the chemical maker, after a Kuwaiti company's cancellation of a planned joint venture deprived Dow of billions it had planned to use to buy Rohm & Haas.

"We are pleased that we reached an agreement with K+S at an attractive value in such a short period of time," said Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew N. Liveris, in a statement. "This sale puts us ahead of schedule on our de-leveraging plan post the close of the Rohm and Haas acquisition."

Dow said the Morton Salt divestiture is expected to close in mid-2009.

The company said that the sale, together with prior actions such as slashing its dividend and negotiating better terms on its bridge loan, will trim Dow's bridge loan debt to about $7.5 billion from $13 billion. Dow said it has now almost replaced the $7.5 billion cash shortfall created by the failure of its Kuwaiti joint venture transaction to close.

Kassel, Germany-based K+S makes fertilizers, as well as plant care and salt products. Its salt segment makes food-grade salt as well as products for industrial and chemical use and for road de-icing.

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