Dow Chemical Co. has entered into an agreement to sell its specialty chemical business AgroFresh to buyout company Boulevard Acquisition Corp. for $860 million.
AgroFresh supplies chemicals for keeping produce fresh. Its flagship product is the SmartFresh Quality System, a freshness protection technology designed to maintain the firmness, texture and appearance of fruits during storage and transport. SmartFresh is currently sold in 45 countries worldwide.
Dow announced in October 2014 that it was planning to divest the business. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2015, subject to approval by Boulevard's shareholders and other closing conditions. AgroFresh will become a subsidiary of Boulevard, a public investment vehicle formed by Avenue Capital Group.
Dow will retain a minority stake in the business, initially holding about 40% of the shares of AgroFresh. Shareholders of Boulevard will hold the remaining 60% stake.
Thomas Macphee, vice president and corporate director for Dow, will become chief executive officer of AgroFresh.
The sale of AgroFresh is in line with Dow's shift away from businesses that are no longer considered a strategic fit.
Howard Ungerleider, Dow's chief financial officer, explained: "AgroFresh is focused on the post-harvest market segment, which is not aligned to the rest of the Dow AgroSciences' portfolio. The retention of a minority interest in AgroFresh, however, allows Dow to participate in the growth prospects of the business while unlocking a majority share of value for our shareholders."