***Editor's note: The story was updated on 5/11, at 10:30 a.m., with additional PCT reporting***
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Dow Chemical Company has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Dow AgroSciences post-harvest and structural fumigant business, sulfuryl fluoride, to Douglas Products. This transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015. The divestment includes fumigants sold under the brand names Vikane and ProFume. The transaction also includes associated technology, business know-how, certain intellectual property, customer lists and contracts.
In an emailed response from a Dow spokesperson, the company noted that it “believes that this business segment has a greater opportunity to reach its full potential under a different owner and the transaction aligns to the company’s rigorous focus on streamlining our portfolio aligned to our market segment driven strategy in pursuit of rewarding shareholders.”
The Dow Chemical company developed Vikane in the late 1950s and began commercially selling the gas fumigant in 1961. The product has been used to protect more than 2 million buildings in the Gulf States, California and Hawaii. ProFume, registered by EPA in 2004, was introduced as a replacement for methyl bromide, with tolerances for dried fruits, tree nuts, cereals/small grains and small grain processed products. In 2005, ProFume’s label was expanded to include uses for food processing facilities, pet food facilities, warehouses, shipping containers and more.
Dow AgroSciences also has developed a stellar industry-wide reputation for its support and stewardship of Vikane and ProFume. Recently, Dow AgroSciences worked with NPMA and its members (and other non-industry groups) to block an EPA proposal that would have phased out of food tolerances for sulfuryl fluoride. The industry backed an amendment to last year’s Farm Bill that directed the Administrator of the EPA to exclude non-pesticidal sources of fluoride from aggregate exposure assessments required under section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) when assessing tolerances associated with residues from the pesticide.
Russ Ives, president of Troy, Mich.-based Rose Pest Solutions, whose company is involved in commodity fumigations, said he “greatly appreciated over the years the product stewardship support that Dow has provided with sulfuryl fluoride. They have been a great resource for us. I am hopeful that Douglas will demonstrate that same type of product support and user support in this market that is not only important to us – as a service provider – but is really very critical to food supply and also to the protection of business and residential structures.”
Douglas Products, based out of Liberty, Mo., is a leading manufacturer of specialty chemical products for agricultural, sanitary sewer, and thermal fluid applications.
A Dow spokesperson told PCT that approximately 10 Dow employees are expected to transition to Douglas Products at close, and that until the transaction closes, “Dow employees will remain committed to our high product stewardship standards, and the industry can count on us to operate our business as usual. Additionally, our team is working closely with Douglas Products to achieve a smooth transition for our customers. Our top priority is maintaining a consistently high level of service and stewardship to avoid any disruption to quality, customer service, safety or product delivery as a result of this transaction.”
The remainder of the Dow AgroSciences global pest control business is not in the scope of this transaction, and the Dow spokersperson told PCT that company will continue to actively support and engage in the T&O and Pest Management industries. “In fact, we will continue to invest in and innovate for our T&O and subterranean termite businesses. We are eager to introduce our new and novel business platform to the pest management industry, which we expect to pilot in the next 12 months.”