NEW YORK Jan 29 DuPont is exploring the
sale of its cyanide business and has hired investment bank
Morgan Stanley to run the sale process, according to
three sources familiar with the matter.
The unit -- which sells the poisonous chemical for use in
gold mining -- could be worth more than $700 million, according
to two of the sources. It is projected to have earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of around $100
million, the sources said.
The 210-year-old chemical company is under pressure to focus
more on its food and agriculture products. It sold its
performance coatings unit last August to Carlyle Group LP
for $4.9 billion cash.
DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman is betting
drought-resistant AquaMax corn seed, Curzate potato fungicides,
Amylex beer enzymes and other food and agriculture products will
make DuPont's profit less subject to the ebbs and flows of its
commodity chemicals business, which include its cyanide unit and
its much larger paint business.
DuPont declined to comment. Morgan Stanley did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.