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DuPont CEO says merger with Dow on track

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The planned merger with Dow is "progressing as expected," the DuPont chairman and chief executive, Ed Breen, sought to reassure investors on concerns that the planned $59bn Dow Chemicals and DuPont merger would be delayed.

The merger, which was supposed to close at the end of this year, would now close in the "first quarter of 2017," he said.

"We did have some delay, as you all read with document submission on the EU side," Mr Breen said. "That clock has restarted a few weeks ago, and the outside date that you saw which is public is February 6."

Mr Breen said the mid-2018 target could be met as the company was certainly in the 18 month window.

'Merger pro-competitive'

Dow-DuPont will not be the biggest seed group after the merger, nor the biggest in agrichemicals, where it will be behind Syngenta-ChemChina, Mr Breen said.

"I think sometimes we lose sight," he said. "We put Dow and DuPont Ag together [but] we're going to be a strong number two in seed, not a number one."

Indeed, this would make regulatory clearances easier.

Closing the merger is dependent on satisfying conditions laid out by the US, EU, Brazil and China.

"We have made progress in all key jurisdictions," Mr Breen said. "We are very focused on working closely and constructively with all jurisdictions to receive those approvals as quickly as possible."

The transaction would be closed once all the closing conditions were met, he said.

"We have made a lot of progress in helping regulators understand the dynamics of our industries in which we operate, and demonstrating why our merger is pro-competitive," Mr Breen said.

$1.3bn cost synergy target

The company has finalized projects to deliver targeted cost synergies of $1.3bn, implementation of which will begin soon after closing.

"We will realize 70% of the savings on a run rate basis by the end of the first 12 months after merger close, and 100% of the savings on a run rate basis at the end of 24 months."

By Tanya Ashreena

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