Since it was founded in 1802, DuPont has purchased, sold and spun off many businesses, but perhaps never more dramatically than in 2015, when it officially established Chemours as a $6 billion global firm focused on the performance chemicals business, in anticipation of DuPont’s merger with Dow.
The core business units of the new company are Titantium Technologies, Flouroproducts and Chemical Solutions, all product lines that reach far back into DuPont’s history as a wide-ranging, industrial chemical company. Moreover, most of Chemours’ initial leadership and more than 8,000 of its employees were once part of DuPont.
“Our progress as a company has been really remarkable,” CEO Mark Vergnano says about the company’s first two years. “From our share price to core financial performance, business accomplishments and even employee engagement, Chemours is a different company today than at spin-off in July 2015.
But the company’s evolution has not always been smooth. Indeed, its first two years were quite rocky, with Chemours’ stock dropping into the single digits before rebounding in early 2017 to more than $35 per share. Vergnano says his company’s immediate goals are tough, but realistic.
“Our priority is driving business performance and setting ourselves up to become a higher-value chemistry company with sustained growth and solid performance well into the future,” Vergnano says. “We are committed to achieving the goals we have communicated to our stakeholders: completing our Five-Point Transformation Plan, reducing costs by another $350 million and improving our net debt position to about 3x leveraged — all by the end of 2017.”
Significantly, Chemours decided to stay headquartered in Delaware when it was spun off, although other states made bids to lure it away.
“Delaware is an ideal location not just for chemical startups but for businesses in general,” Vergnano said.
This article appeared in the premiere issue of Delaware Innovation Magazine, an overview of the state’s cutting edge industries and the people leading them. See the whole issue here.