DU PONT, ICI JOIN FORCES IN EUROPEAN PAINT VENTURE

DU PONT, ICI JOIN FORCES IN EUROPEAN PAINT VENTURE

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd. have agreed to form a new coatings venture based in Bonn, West Germany, to supply the European automotive industry.

Terms of the venture were undisclosed. Following completion of negotiations and government approvals, the venture is expected to begin operations within six months.An integration of resources and technology is viewed by the two companies as the best way to expand their presence in the European automotive coatings markets and most effectively meet the continuing need of automobile manufacturers, a Du Pont spokesman said.

The European market share of the combined new company is expected to comprise about 10 percent of the original equipment manufacturing automotive market, he said.

Under the terms of a preliminary agreement, the companies will merge their existing businesses in the European automotive coatings market. The European venture will not include the vehicle refinish business nor any other paint markets that the two companies serve.

The venture will be supported by a long-term capital investment program whose immediate focus will be a $17 million automotive coatings application center. The center will offer manufacturers state-of-the-art capability by fully replicating all aspects of in-plant vehicle painting.

Du Pont and ICI will each have a 50 percent stake in the venture. Production and technical service facilities will be located in the United Kingdom, West Germany, Belgium, France and Spain. However, the companies will continue to operate as independent automotive suppliers outside of Europe.

The combined resources of the venture will provide European auto manufacturers with the complete range of technologies and services they require to be competitive, said Ross W. Fasick, director of Du Pont's Finishes division.