After 14 months of planning, DuPont Dow Elastomers is scheduled to hit the ground running today.The new high-performance elastomers company, a 50-50 joint venture between DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co., begins life with expected first-year sales of more than $1 billion. DuPont Dow executives expect to double that sales figure in five years. Wilmington, Del., DuPont's longtime headquarters city, also will be the home site for DuPont Dow. Company President and Chief Executive Officer Donald K. Duncan will be based there.
The firm's European headquarters will be in Geneva. Jean-Louis Raynaud, former general manager of Dow France, will serve as president of DuPont Dow Elastomers SA. John Breitenstein, former business manager of DuPont's core elastomers, will head Du-Pont Dow's Asia/Pacific headquarters in Singapore. Richard Rothenberger, who came from DuPont's plastics packaging business, will be vice president of marketing in South America, based in SÃo Paulo, Brazil.
DuPont Dow will employ 2,500 at 14 plants in the United States, Europe and the Far East.
The company kept fairly close to its startup timetable, according to Duncan, although there were last-minute glitches.
``At the beginning, we really understood only 30-40 percent of what we had to do to create a company,'' he said. ``We understood the problems in general, but the specifics were much more complicated than we imagined.''
Setting up subsidiary operations and fulfilling regulatory requirements were among the most complex areas, he said.
DuPont Dow is designed to represent the best of both parents' elastomers businesses, Dun-can said. This includes 60-plus years of DuPont expertise in elastomers marketing and Dow's In-site metallocene technology.
``As a [relatively] small company, we hope we will be more responsive to our customers and the overall marketplace,'' he said. ``We expect to be much more focused, and we expect our people to be very energized and engaged. They will have a significant role in making sure we exceed our customers' expectations.''
The auto industry, as expected at the beginning, will remain DuPont Dow's largest customer base, Duncan said. But those elastomers incorporating Insite technology, such as Engage polyolefin elastomers, will fuel sales growth across a wide range of markets.