MeadWestvaco Corporation announced that its board of directors has approved a plan to fully separate its Specialty Chemicals business from the rest of the company. The separation is expected to be executed by means of a tax-free spinoff of the Specialty Chemicals business to MWV shareholders, resulting in two independent, publicly traded companies. The spinoff is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. MWV remains open to other value-creating alternatives for the Specialty Chemicals business throughout this process.
“Following a thorough strategic review process, MWV’s board and leadership team determined that a tax-free spinoff of Specialty Chemicals presents the best opportunity to create the greatest value for our shareholders,” said John A. Luke Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, MWV. “The separation of Specialty Chemicals will establish two strong companies that are better positioned to compete and profitably grow in their targeted markets. This action continues our strong record of returning value to our shareholders, which has exceeded $4 billion over the last 10 years.”
A. Luke continued: “This is an opportunity we have created by executing on a deliberate strategy of building MWV’s businesses into packaging and specialty chemicals leaders globally. We are in a strong position to take this next step to maximize value for our shareholders. Our strong commercial progress and improved execution have put our packaging business on a sustainable path toward market-leading margins and growing cash returns. The separation of our Specialty Chemicals business, along with the organizational redesign work we are undertaking, reflects the strong commitment of our management team and board of directors to creating value for our shareholders and establishing a business model that will significantly improve the profitability and cash flow profile of our packaging business.”
MWV expects to receive cash from the spinoff that will be used primarily to pay down debt to maintain MWV’s investment grade credit rating. MWV expects to continue to pay a strong dividend, with the final rate to be determined post-separation. The company also will continue to look for opportunities to return capital to shareholders.