Dow wins $2.2bn in spat with Kuwait chemicals firm

US chemical company receives damages after four-year dispute over scrapped joint venture

Dow Chemical Co has received $2.2bn in damages from Kuwait's state chemicals company, bringing an end to a more than four-year dispute over a scrapped plastics joint venture.

The cash payment comes a year after an international arbitrator told Petrochemical Industries Co (PIC), a unit of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp, to pay up for pulling out of the $17.4bn K-Dow petrochemical venture in December 2008.

PIC had cited the deteriorating global economy for its withdrawal.

K-Dow was a politically sensitive deal in major oil exporter Kuwait and came under scrutiny in parliament, where lawmakers often clash with the government, especially over large state investments.

Last year the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court ruled that PIC had violated its agreement with Dow Chemical.

The US company intends to use the payment to reduce debt and pay shareholder dividends, Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement on Tuesday.

The cash payment includes damages as well as recovery of its costs, the statement said.

A statement from PIC, published by Kuwait's state-run news agency KUNA, confirmed it had made the payment and that it had "exhausted all possible challenges to the award".

Dow Chemical shares rose 1.4 percent to $34.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dow and PIC currently operate four other joint ventures, including ME Global, EQUATE, Kuwait Olefins Co and Kuwait Styrene Co.

"The question is: why didn't Kuwait deal earlier with Dow?" Kuwait-based independent oil analyst Kamel al-Harami said, referring to the delay in paying the penalty, which resulted in interest costs. Even though the dispute is over, "a bitter feeling will remain here", he said.

Dow struggled through a turbulent period in 2007 and 2008 as the weakening economy hurt demand for many of its products.

The cancellation of the K-Dow venture had raised fears among investors that Dow Chemical would be unable to finance its planned $15bn purchase of speciality chemicals maker Rohm and Haas, part of its strategy to shift the company towards higher-margin business.

The deal closed only after the companies altered the terms of the deal.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: mumeen

Kuwait has also lost on the 10 new Boeing planes it had ordered in 2005/6. The order was cancelled and so KAC still has no new planes. Chairman of KAC went on to say that a Consulting firm has recently advised that KAC would have earned a profit of USD1.2 billions by now had they not cancelled the order.

Posted by: RAH

Good for Dow!

Not only will international companies now feel compelled to think twice before doing business with Kuwait, Kuwait has lost a sizeable amount of public money to pay off a fine for a deal that was obviously poorly-studied and probably marred in irregularities (corruption).

Will we never learn?!!! This lesson alone cost us billions.. something that could have been better used in building schools and upgrading the crappy medical services here (and doctors with fake diplomas and certificates)!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
First bank merger in 20 years sets Saudi Arabia up for more deals

First bank merger in 20 years sets Saudi Arabia up for more deals

Q&A look at what the planned merger of HSBC and RBS’s Saudi ventures...

A natural move: How Dubai Chamber is strengthening its ties in Latin America

A natural move: How Dubai Chamber is strengthening its ties in Latin America

With vast resources and more than half-a-billion people, the...

If Saudi future's so bright, why can't these banks find buyers?

If Saudi future's so bright, why can't these banks find buyers?

No big-name global banks eager to buy stakes in Saudi banks,...

Most Discussed