Dow Chemical signed a deal to sell the marine and storage terminal operations at its St. Charles and Plaquemine sites for $620 million to a joint venture between a global hedge fund and a Dutch terminal operator.
The deal between Dow and Vopak Industrial Infrastructure Americas, a 50/50 joint venture between Royal Vopak and BlackRock's Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Fund, includes assets connected to sites run by Dow in Louisiana and its Freeport, Texas facility.
Royal Vopak describes itself as an independent tank storage business. The total capacity of the three terminals is 852,000 cubic meters, the largest tank operation is at St. Charles which has 73 tanks while Freeport has 53 tanks and the Plaquemine site has 30 tanks for chemicals and refined products. There is nearly 40 acres of expansion land, 36 vessel berths, pipeline connections, rail and truck racks included in the deal.
Fifty-four Dow employees work at the marine and storage terminal operations at the two Louisiana plants, along with about 45 contract employees, said Ashley Mendoza, a company spokeswoman. Plans are for the Dow workers to transfer over to Vopak.
Dow sees the deal to raise cash from an existing 'key logistics partner' which enables the company to "deploy cash towards value-enhancing opportunities in our core businesses" in addition to paying down debt. The company has been assessing its assets that do not directly create revenue for the business in its vast global portfolio of petrochemical manufacturing infrastructure. In July, Dow sold off its rail infrastructure at six sites across North America.
As part of the deal which is expected to close by the end of this year, the two companies also signed long-term service agreements for the operations.
"This unique expansion opportunity, in which we partner with the leading global investment experts of BlackRock, fits perfectly into Vopak's growth strategy for industrial terminals," said Eelco Hoekstra, CEO of Royal Vopak in a news release. "We are dedicated to contributing to the long term success of Dow's U.S. Gulf Coast business."