November 21, 2013 / 4:00 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-DuPont to sell glass-laminating, vinyls unit to Kuraray

Nov 21 (Reuters) - DuPont said it would sell its glass-laminating and vinyls business to Japan’s Kuraray Co Ltd for $543 million, as part of a plan to shift its focus to agriculture, alternative energy and specialty materials.

The business, which makes resins used in windshields and industrial products, will give Synthetic fiber maker Kuraray access to cheap U.S. natural gas, a key raw material, an analyst said.

“The business may be worth more to an Asian buyer,” said John Roberts, who leads U.S. chemical coverage at UBS Investment Research.

Kuraray will also pay the value of inventories, the companies said in a statement.

The sale of the business, which reported sales of about $500 million in 2012, is expected to close in the first half of 2014.

The business, housed in DuPont’s packaging & industrial polymers unit, has 600 employees and six manufacturing sites in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Roberts said the business was not technologically differentiated and margins were on the lower end of DuPont’s targets.

As part of DuPont’s shift to high-growth areas, the company said last month it would spin off its performance chemicals business, which makes paint pigments and materials used in non-stick frying pans, into a separately traded public company within 18 months.

DuPont shares were little changed at $61.12 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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