DOVER, Del. - The DuPont Co. said Thursday that it is selling its performance coatings business for $4.9 billion in cash to The Carlyle Group, giving the private equity firm another investment in the automotive and industrial segments.
DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said the sale of the performance coatings unit will allow the Wilmington, Del.-based company to focus on higher-growth, higher-margin businesses. Those include agriculture and nutrition, bio-based industrials, and advanced materials, which Kullman said are the foundation of DuPont's long-term growth targets.
"The deal announced today is a continuation of the transformation of DuPont," Kullman told analysts in a conference call.
DuPont's stock was down 26 cents at $49.68 in afternoon trading. Its shares have fallen 8 percent since hitting a 52-week high of $53.98 in May.
The performance coatings business, which caters to the automotive and industrial coatings sectors, has about 11,000 employees in more than 70 countries. The unit has net assets valued at about $2 billion and is expected to have 2012 sales of more than $4 billion. But its 2011 pretax margin of about 6 percent was the lowest of all business units in DuPont, which has a goal of a long-term compound annual growth rate of 12 percent earnings.