Dow Chemical's Indian R&D centre plan faces social boycott

Dow Chemical Co, the new owner of the infamous Union Carbide, is planning a comeback by setting up a research and development centre in India, but is facing stiff opposition from social groups and prospective employees.

Dow has offered to invest $100 million (about Rs400 crore) in a
global R&D centre in India. The company has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Maharashtra government, reports said.

Dow is planning to shut a number of plants in the US and shift production to India and other low-cost locations, to cut costs.

Union Carbide, that caused the death of over 5,000 and left several thousands permanently disabled in the
Bhopal gas tragedy, was declared an absconder by a court in Bhopal in 1991. The company was taken over by Dow Chemical in 2001. Dow has refused to produce Union Carbide in court, even while providing an avenue for Carbide to continue profiting from sales in the Indian market without threat of arrest.

With the help of industry leaders like Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, Dow has managed to win the favour of the Prime Minister's Office which has promised to write off Dow's liabilities in Bhopal if the company invests heavily in India.

The company, however, is now facing social boycott in the country.

Young engineers of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are rejecting lucrative jobs at Dow Chemical on moral grounds. They are writing to their IITs to remove its name from the recruiters'''' list, reports quoting NGO sources said.

IIT Madras and IIT Bombay had cancelled their prospective engagements with Dow. Now students from IIT Kanpur have followed suit, on the 23rd anniversary of Bhopal gas disaster, the report said.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation has recently raided Dow''''s offices across the country for allegedly bribing officials to the tune of millions in order to get licences to sell their products here.

The US Securities Exchange Commission had also fined Dow for financial irregularities. In February 2007, Dow Chemical was fined $300,000 (about Rs1.2 crore) by the SEC for having paid Rs80 lakh as bribe to Indian officials to licence Dursban, a pesticide that was banned in the US because of its harmful effects on children''''s brains.

The company continues to market this pesticide in India with impunity.

Meanwhile, in Chennai, more than 150 children in their teens gathered at the central lobby of the Citi Center mall to demand the
eviction of Dow Chemical from the premises.

Dow Chemical, the new owner of Union Carbide, has an office in the 6th floor of the mall in the Mylapore area of the city.

The children also threatened to boycott the "unethical" mall and persuade their friends to do the same if Dow was allowed to continue using the mall premises.

Dow, which has been affected by soaring hydrocarbon feedstock and energy costs, has been attempting to improve its earnings through a series of joint ventures and by expanding its more profitable specialty businesses.

Midland, Michigan-based Dow has been under pressure from investors to announce a transformational deal that would reduce its exposure to the more cyclical and low-margin commodity chemicals business.

Dow said it would exit the automotive sealers business in North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America within nine to 18 months and explore strategic options for its Europe business.

It will also shut down its manufacturing facility in Lauterbourg, France. The company will also write down an investment in its Petromont and Co polyethylene joint venture in Canada. Polyethylene is a very common plastic used for bags.

Dow will also idle a styrene plant in Camacari, Brazil, from January 1, amid tougher competition and weak industry fundamentals.

Nov 10, 2007

Dow India plans $100 mn R&D centre

Dow India will invest $100 million (about Rs 400 crore) in a global R&D centre at Chakan. The centre, located on a 100 acre plot, should be operational next year and by 2010, is expected to employ 500 researchers. Dow India has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Maharashtra government.

A statement released by the multinational noted that initial project related activities have begun at the location and 125 researchers are already working, out of rented premises. The Dow Chemical Company has been present in India for over 50 years now.

Vipul Shah, CEO, Dow Chemical International noted that this centre will be capable of bringing new products to market, from concept to commercialisation.

The integrated R&D centre will serve multiple clients and geographies in areas of water, personal care, paints and coatings. It will also partner with government laboratories and educational institutions, funding research to generate intellectual property

April 16, 2008 Dow

Dow Europe and Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd. Sign Joint Venture Agreement
Dow Commits Rs.75 Lakh to Provide Clean Drinking Water to Local Communities

Dow Europe GmbH (Dow), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, and
Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd (GACL), a company promoted by Government of Gujarat, announced today the signing of a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) for the construction, operation and ownership of a 200 kilotons per year chloromethanes manufacturing facility in Gujarat, India. The agreement allows Dow and GACL to complete a study, begin work on definitive agreements and work towards financial closure which is estimated to be completed by late 2008. Estimated to be operational in 2011, the new production unit would be located at Dahej, Gujarat on the western coast of India. The parties will form a 50:50 joint venture company to manage local permitting processes.

gBeing here in India, and understanding the growth prospects for both our companies, as well as this region, is very exciting. This is yet another example of our commitment to meeting the needs of our customers through establishing joint ventures with strategic partners, using an asset-light investment approach,h said Michael R. Gambrell, executive vice president, Basic Chemicals and Plastics for Dow. gAs GACL - Indiafs largest chlor-alkali producer, and Dow - the worldfs largest producer of chemicals and plastics and the world's largest supplier of chlorinated organic products and services, form a joint venture company and enter into negotiation of the definitive agreements for this project, we do so against the all-important backdrop of sustainability.h

The new investment through this Joint Venture between Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd. (GACL) and Dow Europe GmbH is a significant development. This will give a push to the down stream users in the pharmaceuticals, paints and grease removal, refrigerant and solvent sector by making raw materials available at more competitive rates and bringing valuable Forex to the country,h said Shri Saurabhbhai Patel, Minister Of State for Energy & Petrochemicals, Government Of Gujarat.

gWe are happy to be associated with Dow to work on this project, which will help the country to achieve its commitments as a part of the Montreal Protocol, to which India is a signatory,h said Dr. Manjula Subramaniam, Chairperson, GACL and Chief Secretary, the Government of Gujarat. She further informed that the association of GACL with Dow would result in various business avenues for the State. gDowfs best-in-class process technology to produce chloromethanes will help to minimize production of carbon tetrachloride (CTC). The JV will also be able to convert the total CTC production, not only from this facility, but CTC produced in India, into a valuable product, a major breakthrough for Indiafs chemical industry.h

It also gives me pleasure to announce today that, in keeping with Dowfs 2015 Sustainability Goal to Contribute to Community Success, we are contributing Rs. 75 Lakh to purchase the equipment to provide clean drinking water to over 10,000 residents of three neighboring villages of Jolwa, Suva and Vadadla by using Dow technology. We plan to offer this facility to other neighboring villages in the months to come,h Gambrell continued.

Chloromethanes are used as an intermediate in the production of fluorocarbons and fluoropolymers, and as a solvent in pharmaceutical manufacturing, metal cleaning/degreasing, and other chemical processing applications. GACL will supply feedstock and power and lease land to the joint venture, while Dow will license its production technology and marketing and sales expertise. The joint venture will market its products primarily to countries who are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

About Dow Europe GmbH

Dow Europe GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. With annual sales of $54 billion and 46,000 employees worldwide, Dow is a diversified chemical company that combines the power of science and technology with the "Human Element
h to constantly improve what is essential to human progress. The Company delivers a broad range of products and services to customers in around 160 countries, connecting chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help provide everything from fresh water, food and pharmaceuticals to paints, packaging and personal care products. References to gDowh or the gCompanyh mean The Dow Chemical Company and / or its separate but consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at

About GACL

Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL) was incorporated on 29th March, 1973 in the State of Gujarat by Gujarat Industrial Investment Corporation Limited (GIIC), a wholly owned company of Govt. of Gujarat, as a Core Promoter. GACL has two units located at Vadodara (Baroda) and Dahej , both in the State of Gujarat. It has integrated manufacturing facilities for Caustic Soda, Chlorine, Hydrogen Gas, Hydrochloric Acid, Chloromethanes, Hydrogen Peroxide, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Carbonate, Sodium Cyanide, Sodium Ferrocyanide, Aluminium Chloride, Poly Aluminium Chloride, CPW etc. Its manufacturing capacity for caustic soda is 412500 tonnes per annum and is the largest in India. The Dahej unit also has 90 MW Captive Power Plant (CPP) for regular and economical power supply. More information about GACL can be found at