DuPont Co. could sell or spin off its chemical unit to focus on food and agriculture products, Reuters reported.

 

The problem is that chemical sales, including sunscreen and paint, are cyclical, and DuPont is leaning for the predictability provided by seeds and pesticides.

 

If there are no buyers, DuPont would consider spinning off the chemical unit, which contributed a fifth of the company's total sales last year and makes the paint pigments used in sunscreen and car paint.

 

"We have been carefully weighing the strong cash generation of our performance chemicals businesses against their cyclicality and lower growth profile," DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said in a statement, Reuters reported.

 

DuPont is part of an industrywide shift among chemical makers, including rival Dow Chemical Co., into production of seeds and pesticides, which have proven to be less exposed to market ebbs and flows than the popular pigment titanium dioxide, Reuters said.

 

DuPont, a 211-year-old company that is the parent of Johnston-based DuPont Pioneer, bought nutritional supplements maker Danisco for $6 billion in 2011 and sold its car paint unit last year for $5 billion.

 

The company said on today it was restructuring its management team to tap the agriculture and nutrition markets, as well as industrial biosciences and advanced materials. Read more.