By JIM RUTLEDGE
WILMINGTON, Del. — The DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. are expected to announce in coming months their plans for two new Global Business Centers they will build in Indiana and Iowa late next year, following the merger of the two chemical giants when the $130 billion deal is finalized by the end of October.
The two companies made the announcement Friday, sending a jolt of good economic news through the two states. The companies’ CEOs said Wilmington, Del. – DuPont’s home since its founding in 1802 – will be the base for two of three planned new companies, one for agriculture and the other focused on electronic components and biosciences.
Dow and DuPont executives said keeping the two corporate headquarters in place is the most efficient way to manage the three “businesses of the future,” relying on the existing infrastructure that took years to build. Both companies said the deal would create a giant corporation with a combined $130 billion in value.
Corporate officials said it is too early to say how many new employees will be needed for the Global Business Centers – one in Johnston, Iowa, and another in Indianapolis, which is already home to Dow AgroSciences. Johnston is home of DuPont’s Pioneer plant genetics headquarters.
“It is too preliminary to comment on details,” Dow’s Rachelle Schikorra said in an email. Both companies will begin working on how many employees will be needed at the centers, as well as the size and exact location for the business centers, once the merger process is completed, she explained.
“The announcement (Friday) is about the U.S. site structure for the agricultural company created by the planned separation of DowDuPont,” Schikorra said. “The structure was designed to maintain a strong presence in Iowa and Indiana and continue to support close ties to the customer base and the agricultural community.”
DuPont’s Dan Turner said the two global centers will provide “business support functions, research and development, service the global supply chain and support sales and marketing capabilities.” In addition, “the (new) independent agricultural company will feature DuPont in the company’s name, following completion of the corporate naming and branding process.”
Ed Breen, chair and CEO of DuPont, said the new company will “take full advantage of the unique expertise and resources that exist in each location. Our deep presence in Iowa and Indiana will continue the close ties to our customer base, while leveraging the existing corporate infrastructure and expertise we have in Delaware, DuPont’s home for more than 200 years.”
The companies announced that Midland, Mich. – where Dow has been based since 1879 – will be the intended headquarters for the Material Sciences Co., to be named Dow, according to Dow Chair Andrew Liveris, who will retire from the company when the merger is completed.
Indiana officials said the new company planned for Wilmington would be the largest in the world. “As a result of the state’s and city’s negotiations with the two companies leadership teams over the past several weeks, along with support from Indiana’s Congressional delegation, a significant portion of the agriculture company will be based in Indiana,” according to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
McKinney said the state began pursuing Dow and DuPont executives shortly after the merger was announced in December, and after a series of January meetings, Pence followed up with a dinner at his residence a couple of weeks ago, intended to send a strong message to top executives.
McKinney said the state was “very excited about this announcement” and that DowDuPont is expanding its operations in Indianapolis with the addition of the global center. “We’re so elated and we believe that for the future that the state is situated for long-term growth,” he said.
“Hoosier farmers have driven innovation in agriculture that radiates throughout the state, advancing research, growth and job creation across industries like life sciences and technology,” Pence added.
Dow AgroSciences is located on Indianapolis’ northwest side and accounts for approximately 80 percent of the company’s $18 billion in revenue last year from its crop protection operations.
Joe Hogsett, the new mayor of Indianapolis, said, “I am grateful that the merger includes a continued, sustained presence in Indianapolis, and I’m optimistic about (the) future growth of DowDuPont in our community. We look forward to ongoing conversations with their management team, and will be aggressive in our efforts to attract even more jobs to Indianapolis.”
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said the announcement “is a reason to celebrate – keeping the research and development and business operations in Iowa solidifies DowDuPont in our state and positions us well for future growth opportunities.”
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), though, was disappointed the state had not been selected for DowDuPont’s new headquarters. But he said, “This decision does not alter the importance of the work done by Iowa’s agricultural community.”