Dow, DuPont to combine, will become "technology leader" in solar PV materials

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In what has been hailed as the "deal of three centuries," the board of directors at both Dow and DuPont unanimously approved plans to merge the two companies. The resulting $130 billion mega company will be become DowDuPont, before, in the ensuing 18 to 24 months following approval, it splits off into three separate entities: agriculture; material sciences; and specialty products, where solar products will feature.

"Each of these businesses will be able to allocate capital more effectively, apply its powerful innovation more productively, and extend its value-added products and solutions to more customers worldwide," stated Edward Breen, chairman and CEO of DuPont.

In an investor presentation, the two said that combining DuPont’s expertise in electronics & communications, and Dow’s capability in electronic materials will create a "technology leader across four high growth segments," including solar PV materials, specifically metallization materials, solar backsheets and encapsulants.

The merger is expected to be approved in 2H 2016. If it goes ahead, Andrew Liveris, president, chairman and CEO of Dow, will become executive chairman of the newly formed DowDuPont board of directors, while and Breen, will become CEO of DowDuPont.

Solar specifics

pv magazine has contacted both Dow and DuPont for further comment on the solar arm of their businesses. No one was immediately available at Dow, while a spokesperson for DuPont said it was too early to offer any further details.

In its latest earnings release, DuPont said it expects global solar PV installations to grow around 20% in 2016, led by China, the U.S., and Japan, "supporting strong demand for our Tedlar film products." It added, "We continue to advance our Solamet paste offering and are targeting new, higher efficiency paste offerings next year."

Dow Corning, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow, meanwhile, was recently featured in pv magazine’s 50 Array Changers for its sealants and adhesives. In addition to materials, Dow Corning holds a majority stake in Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation. Hemlock is the U.S.’ largest polysilicon manufacturer, and is currently locked in a legal battle with SolarWorld over the breach of supply agreements by the latter.