Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical’s chief executive officer, reiterated that, rumors aside, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the company isn’t for sale.
“We’re not for sale and we’ve had no discussions about a sale,” Liveris said Thursday. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of rumors, which have been very distracting.”
Last week, Dow Chemical said it fired a senior adviser and a company officer for having unauthorized discussions with third parties about possible sale of the company. Pedro Reinhard, a senior advisor and a member of the board, and Romeo Kreinberg, a company officer were axed, Liveris said in a prepared statement.
However, Liveris said he had a duty to stockholders to consider any future offers.
“Of course, if an LBO offer – or any offer – came our way, we have a fiduciary duty to consider it,” he said. “We have analyzed our options over and over and over again, (and) we believe a breakup is the worst way to go in terms of shareholder value.”
Liveris said Dow Chemical is a large, integrated company and the “value chains are intertwined.” Therefore, breaking up the company would create “dis-synergies.”
“We’re not opposed to an LBO on principle, but on math,” Liveris said. “If you do a back-of-the-envelope, naive MBA look at this, you’ll come up with some numbers. I’d like to see any alternative numbers compared to the numbers we’ve come out with.”
Liveris said Dow Chemical’s decision to raise its dividend 12% was an effort to be “consistent and predictable in rewarding our shareholders” – not part of a plan to make the company less attractive for a buyout.
In the first quarter, Dow reported earnings of $1 a share, down from $1.24 in the same period a year ago. The company said the decline was due to a decline in licensing revenue.
Liveris said the company is experiencing “double-digit” volume growth in China, the rest of Asia and Latin America.