UPDATE 1-Dow Chemical looking to raise $1.5 bln from asset sales

Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:15am EDT

* To market polypropylene licensing and catalysts business

* Also seeking buyers for plastics additives unit

March 14 (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co, looking to focus on high-margin businesses, said it plans to raise $1.5 billion from asset sales in the next 18 months and is seeking buyers for its polypropylene licensing and catalyst business and its plastics additives unit.

The largest U.S. chemical maker said it has divested non-core businesses representing about $8 billion in revenue since 2009.

"We are reviewing our entire portfolio and seeking even further opportunities to optimize value: selectively pruning assets that are no longer a strategic or financial fit ... " Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement on Thursday.

Dow's polypropylene licensing & catalysts business provides technology to make polypropylene. Its plastics additives business supplies additives used in construction materials, packaging containers, consumer appliances, electronics and automotive parts.

The company has been struggling with weak demand for ethylene, propylene and other chemicals used to make plastics. It said in October that it will shutter 20 plants and cut 5 percent of workforce, following a round of cost cuts.

It divested its global polypropylene business in 2011 to Braskem SA, Brazil's biggest petrochemical company, for $323 million. The polypropylene licensing & catalysts business and related catalyst facilities were not part of the sale.

Sales at Dow's performance materials business, which includes plastic additives among other products, fell 7 percent to $13.61 billion in 2012.

Sales at the company's performance plastics business, holding the polypropylene unit among others, fell 11 percent to $14.48 billion in the same period.

Dow shares were up about 0.5 percent at $33.36 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

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