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US chemical deal gets go ahead signal

Dow Chemical, the American chemicals group, yesterday said it had received official approval from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its $1.68bn (&pound;1.05bn) sale of its Morton Salt unit to Germany&rsquo;s K+S to go ahead, clearing the way for the deal to reach completion stage.<br /><br />The companies expect the transaction to close within the next few days, following FTC acceptance of a consent decree agreed to by K+S, which will become the largest salt producer in the world as a result of the deal.<br /><br />Dow said it will use the $1.68bn in gross proceeds from the sale of Morton Salt to fully pay off the balance of a bridge loan it used to partially fund its acquisition of Rohm and Haas earlier this year.<br /><br />The payoff of the short-term financing facility is ahead of Dow&rsquo;s original goal of the end of the year, it said.<br /><br />In a joint statement, the companies said K+S fulfilled the requirements by the FTC for selling bulk de-icing salt assets in Maine and Connecticut.<br /><br />The deal was a part of Dow&rsquo;s $15bn acquisition of Rohm and Haas in April. Dow immediately arranged to sell off Morton Salt, which was founded in 1848, as part of a plan to scale back debt stemming from the merger.<br /><br />Dow Chemical&rsquo;s shares surged last week after the stock was upgraded by one US analyst who said its reorganisation remained on track