We are encouraged by the latest developments in our investment in Dow (DOW) which announced a merger with DuPont in December. In February, the company revealed that long-time CEO Andrew Liveris will be stepping aside not long after the merger’s completion. DuPont’s CEO, Ed Breen, is a proven operator and capital allocator. Breen made his mark by streamlining Tyco, a long-time industrial conglomerate, splitting the company into focused units and thus created enormous shareholder value. He brings an unbiased perspective and is not afraid to challenge the status quo, two qualities that will be essential in leading Dow/DuPont given the histories of both of these conglomerates.
We continue to believe there is potential for operational improvement at Dow that would be incremental to the $3 billion announced synergy target; in aggregate, approximately $5 billion of earnings improvement could be unlocked. The merger structure preserves both companies’ strong balance sheets which, combined with fading Sadara and Gulf Coast CapEx, should allow for meaningful capital return while maintaining a strong investment grade balance sheet. Taking all of these factors into account, we believe the pro forma entity is capable of generating $5.50 – 6.00 of EPS in 2018. Given that these earnings will consist of contributions from several focused spinoffs, we also believe that multiple expansion is likely. Continue Reading »