DowDuPont CEO says split will generate nearly $1 billion in research funding

DowDuPont’s highly anticipated split into three companies, set to occur in 2019, will generate nearly $1 billion in research and development funding, DowDuPont chief Ed Breen told CNBC on Thursday.

“The beauty of redoing the portfolio — and I’ll use DuPont as the example — [is] we’re going to spend almost $1 billion on R&D per year, so it’s at a rate that’s very healthy compared to the competitive peer set,” Breen told Jim Cramer in an interview.

DuPont, where Breen will stay on as a full-time executive chairman, will become a standalone specialty company focused in various secular markets including transportation, electronics and nutrition.

“What happened is you’re bringing R&D in from the Dow businesses that came in and the DuPont [businesses],” Breen said on “Mad Money.” “You’re bringing that R&D into the same end market opportunities, like in nutrition and health. We both had nutrition and health companies, and now you’re bringing double the R&D to bear on that industry.”

Breen, who is known for successfully engineering a decade-long, five-way split of former monolith Tyco, said that DuPont represents the “fast-growth” portion of the spin-off involved in “secular growth” areas of the market.

“That’s where we put our science and research. So for instance, in the auto industry, we’re the ones electrifying the cars, which is the wave. We’re also the company lightweighting vehicles, which is a huge trend that’s going to continue,” he said.

He added that these end markets explain how DuPont’s business grew 10 percent in a period of declining auto sales.

“You’ve got to be in the right secular areas and that’s where we are really diverting our R&D and innovation machine so we’re in the high, fast-growth areas over the next five to 10 years,” the CEO said.

Breen added that DowDuPont’s three-way split would bring “three world-leading companies in their respective industries” to the market. He said they would be “shareholder-friendly” when it came to dividends, and forecast share buybacks at all three entities “as soon as” the split is completed.

DowDuPont’s stock slid 0.65 percent in Thursday’s trading session, settling at $59.44 a share. The stock dipped slightly in extended trading.

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of DowDuPont.

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