NO IMPACT SEEN ON FIBERS UNIT IF SEAGRAM SELLS DUPONT STAKE
Byline: Michael McNamara
NEW YORK--The reported plan of Seagram Co. to sell its 25 percent stake in DuPont back to the company is not expected to have any major impact on DuPont's $6.8 billion fibers business, according to industry sources. A story in the New York Times Monday said that Seagram was close to a deal to sell the stock back to DuPont for about $10 billion and suggested that DuPont might eventually sell off some assets to finance the purchase. "Fibers is one of their jewels, so I don't see them selling it to pay for the stock," said analyst Ed Johnson, director of the Johnson Redbook Service. "They'll probably have to look at other businesses to sell, but I don't know which ones." DuPont's 1994 corporate sales amounted to $39.3 billion, and its other businesses range from electronics to chemicals and petroleum products. A DuPont corporate spokesman declined to comment on the report, stating that the company "doesn't comment on speculation." Jerald Blumberg, DuPont's senior vice president who oversees the company's fibers business, also remained silent, as did a Seagram's spokesman in New York. Fiber executives said they didn't see the proposed sale having an impact on the day-to-day operations in DuPont's fibers business. "Unless DuPont takes a real big hit in buying back the stock, leading the company to tighten up on all its operations, I don't see it being a factor for the fibers business," said one fiber company executive. Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute last month, Edgar Woolard, DuPont's chairman and chief executive officer, told industry officials, "We remain highly committed to our fiber business in our continuing efforts to be world-class competitors." Responding to claims that the fibers business is a mature one, Woolard went on to say, "I don't believe there are mature businesses, only mature people that don't have the creativity to make businesses grow."
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"