EI du Pont de Nemours and Company

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EI du Pont de Nemours and Company

legal form Corporation
founding July 1802
resolution September 2017
Reason for dissolution Merger with Dow Chemical
Seat Wilmington , United States
management Edward D. Breen ( Chairman and CEO )
Number of employees 52,000 (2015)
sales 25,130,000,000 US dollars (2015)
Branch chemistry
Website www.dupont.com
As of December 31, 2015

EI du Pont de Nemours and Company ( DuPont for short ) was one of the world's largest corporations in the chemical industry , which merged with Dow Chemical in 2017 to form the new company DowDuPont and has been trading as DuPont de Nemours since June 2019 .

Founded in 1802 as an explosives company, DuPont transformed into a chemical , materials and energy company . Prior to its merger with Dow, DuPont's product line spanned the agriculture , nutrition , health , electronics , communications , security , household, construction , transportation and apparel sectors . The best-known brands include DuPont: Pioneer ( seeds ), Teflon ( fluoropolymers , films , textile protection , fibers and dispersions ), Corian , Kevlar , Nomex and Tyvek .


The beginnings

DuPont was founded in 1802 by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont , two years after he and his family emigrated from France to the United States to escape the French Revolution . First he started with the production of explosives, since the industry for it in North America was not yet as developed as the European one and a correspondingly large market was expected. The company grew rapidly and was the largest supplier of explosives to the US military by the mid-19th century, making more than half of the supplies for the Union Army in the American Civil War .

DuPont continued its growth and entered the production of dynamite and smokeless powder . In 1902, DuPont's President Eugene du Pont died and the other partners sold their stake to the three great-grandchildren of the company's founder . Several smaller chemical companies were acquired until, in the course of the Sherman Antitrust Act, a court established the dominant position ( monopoly ) in explosives in 1912 and ordered the breakup in several parts. Hercules Powder and Atlas Chemical companies were subsequently founded. The entry of the USA into the First World War in 1917 pushed the company's profits from 80 million US dollars (1916) to 250 million US dollars (1918). DuPont mainly supplied special ammunition for aircraft and black powder pellets as an ammunition component .

New business fields 1900 to 1945

During this time DuPont also set up two of the first industrial research laboratories in the USA, where work on cellulose chemistry, paints and other non-explosive products began.

In 1914, Pierre S. du Pont invested in the fledgling automotive industry by buying a stake in General Motors (GM). The following year he was appointed to the GM board of directors. DuPont wanted to support the ailing auto company and bought another block of GM shares valued at $ 25 million. So he averted the bankruptcy of GM and took over the chairmanship in 1920. In the years that followed, GM grew to become the world's largest company of its time. However, the great influence of DuPont at GM meant that in 1957, again due to the Sherman Antitrust Act , the shares had to be sold.

In the 1920s, DuPont continued to focus on materials science . Wallace Carothers began working on polymers in 1928 . In 1930 Carothers discovered neoprene , a synthetic rubber , was the first to synthesize polyester and in 1935 developed the polyamide fiber nylon . Later, the company developed the acrylic glass Lucite and let the by Roy Plunkett discovered Teflon patented.

Throughout this period DuPont remained a producer of war equipment for the two world wars and played an important role in the Manhattan Project from 1943 , where it designed, built and operated the plutonium production facility in Hanford and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee .

Further development after the Second World War

After World War II , DuPont focused again on new materials such as Mylar ( PET film), Dacron (PET fiber), Orlon ( polyacrylonitrile fiber) and Lycra ( elastane ) in the 1950s and Tyvek (PE nonwoven), Kevlar and Nomex ( aromatic polyamides ) and Corian (66% gibbsite and approx. 34% polymethyl methacrylate , plexiglass ) in the 1960s. DuPont materials were critical to the success of the Apollo program .

In October 1985 there was a joint venture between the important electronics manufacturer Philips and DuPont, from which the company Philips & DuPont Optical ( PDO ) developed, which specialized in the production of audio CDs . CD pressing plants a . a. in Langenhagen ( Germany ), Blackburn ( England ), Wilmington ( USA ) and France .

In 1981 DuPont took over Conoco Inc. , a large American oil and gas producer. After that, there was a separate petrochemical access to raw materials for the production of plastics and fibers. This acquisition , which made DuPont one of the top 10 oil and gas producers, came after a takeover attempt by Seagram Company Ltd. who, as DuPont's largest single shareholder, claimed four seats on the board. On April 6, 1995, DuPont announced that it would buy back all of Seagram's shares.

In 1986 the Shell Agricultural Chemical Company (SACC) was taken over.

In 1991 DuPont sold its 50% stake in Consolidation Coal Co. to Rheinbraun for over $ 1 billion . Consol Energy later emerged from the group .

In March 1999 DuPont took over Herberts GmbH (Autolacke) and continued to run it under the name DuPont Performance Coatings .

DuPont parted ways with Conoco in 1999 to bring the business into a joint venture with Phillips Petroleum Company that later became ConocoPhillips . In the same year, CEO Carles O. (Chad) Holliday changed the focus from petrochemicals to renewable raw materials. In 1999 Pioneer Hi-Bred , the world's largest seed company at the time, was also taken over.

In 2003, the traditional fiber division ( DuPont Textiles and Interiors ) was spun off into the newly founded subsidiary Invista , whose shares were sold to Koch Industries in April 2004 . Merger with KoSa (formerly the polyester division of Hoechst AG ) to form Invista Resins & Fibers GmbH .

In 2007 the company was from the European Commission for participating in a chloroprene rubber - cartel fined. According to the Commission, the cartel that existed between 1993 and 2002 included Bayer , Denka , Dow Chemical , Eni and Tosoh .

On August 30, 2012, DuPont announced that it had entered into an agreement with the Carlyle Group to sell DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC) for $ 4.9 billion. Today it bears the name Axalta .

In early 2015, investor activist Nelson Peltz put pressure on then-CEO Ellen J. Kullman , which led to her being dismissed towards the end of the year.

On July 1, 2015, the titanium dioxide and refrigerant business was spun off under the name Chemours .

Former board members

Crawford Greenewalt 1948-1962
Irving S. Shapiro 1973-1981
Edward G. Jefferson 1981-1986
Edgar S. Woolard 1989-1995
John A. Krol 1995-1998
Charles O. Holliday 1998-2008
Ellen J. Kullman December 31, 2008 to October 16, 2015
Edward D. Breen October 16, 2015–

DuPont in Germany

In 1961, DuPont started its involvement in Germany and founded DuPont Chemie GmbH . The following year, the company acquired Adox Fotowerke Schleussner GmbH , based in Neu-Isenburg . In 1968 DuPont built a new plant in Uentrop for the production of engineering plastics and laminated glass films.

In 1999, DuPont took over Herberts GmbH from Hoechst with its headquarters in Wuppertal . The company continued under the name DuPont Performance Coatings GmbH (DPC) until it was sold to the Carlyle Group in 2012 . The company now bears the name Axalta Coating Systems . It develops, produces and sells paints for automotive OEM refinishing, automotive refinishing and coatings for industrial applications. In 2000, the takeover of Pioneer in Buxtehude added another location.

For DuPont, Germany was the second largest market worldwide after the USA. At the four locations mentioned alone, a quarter of all employees from Europe, the Middle East and Africa were employed with almost 3,500 employees. DuPont's headquarters in Germany changed several times. After Frankfurt am Main , Dreieich and Bad Homburg , the company was based in Neu-Isenburg .

Product range

Many plastics have become known under the DuPont trade names, for example:

In the paint sector, DuPont ranks among the world's largest manufacturers of automotive refinish paints with the brands DuPont Refinish , Spies Hecker and Standox .


With the acquisition of Pioneer Hi-Bred in 1999, DuPont became the second largest seed manufacturer (behind Monsanto ) worldwide. According to estimates, the group had a share of 14% of the market for legally protected seeds in 2008 . Pioneer also produces transgenic seeds , among other things .

DuPont is accused by NGOs such as the ETC Group and Greenpeace of trying to gain control of global agriculture at the expense of insufficiently investigated possible problems.


With Genencor , a joint venture originally founded by Genentech and Corning Glassworks in 1982 , DuPont acquired one of the largest manufacturers of food additives and enzymes ( industrial biotechnology ) in 2011 . In 1995 DuPont also took over the enzyme division of Solvay and in 2011 Danisco .

Environmental violations

DuPont had to struggle with serious image problems again and again, because on the one hand it used to be one of the main manufacturers of CFCs , on the other hand it had high pollutant emissions and thus led the Toxic 100 Index in 2008 . In December 2005, DuPont had to pay the US Federal Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) a settlement amount of approximately 16 million dollars because internal studies on the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) manufactured by DuPont , which contained indications of the carcinogenicity of this substance, had been concealed . This is particularly explosive because PFOA is almost indestructible ( persistent ) and bioaccumulative . For example, PFOA has been detected in arctic polar bears and approximately 95% of blood samples from US citizens.

The company was found guilty of contaminating drinking water in 2017 after a legal battle with Robert Bilott that had been going on since 1998 , causing diseases (including cancer ) in livestock and the general public . DuPont then paid about 671.7 million US dollars to the approximately 70,000 people injured. This case was picked up with the film Dark Waters in 2019.


DuPont was a member of the European Movement Germany network and HRAC (association for the development of measures against herbicide resistance).

See also



  • Alfred Dupont Chandler, Stephen Salsbury: Pierre S. Du Pont and the Making of the Modern Corporation . Beard Books, 2001, ISBN 1-58798-023-1 .
  • Adrian Kinnane: DuPont: From the Banks of the Brandywine to Miracles of Science. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8018-7059-3 .
  • John K. Winkler: The Dupont Dynasty . Kessinger Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1-4191-2857-4 .
  • Madsen, Axel: The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant made General Motors , John Wiley & Sons, Inc., ISBN 0-471-39523-4 (pbck) (English).


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b 2015 Report ( Form 10-K )
  2. ^ Madsen: The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant made General Motors , p. 180
  3. Chrono Media 1985. terramedia.co.uk/Chronomedia, accessed on 22 December 2009 (English): "October Philips and Du Pont Company form Philips Du Pont Optical (PDO) joint venture to manufacture and market optical discs."
  4. ^ Ron Wolf: Du Pont Co. Agrees To Purchase Shell Agricultural Products Unit. philly.com, May 2, 1986, accessed January 25, 2015 .
  5. ^ EI du Pont de Nemours & Company History at FundingUniverse
  6. Antitrust law: Commission punishes market sharing and price fixing by chloroprene rubber manufacturers with an antitrust fine of EUR 247.6 million. EU, December 5, 2007, accessed December 22, 2009 .
  7. ^ How DuPont went to war with activist investor Nelson Peltz. In: Fortune . May 11, 2015, accessed July 14, 2016 .
  8. ^ DuPont Completes Spin-off of The Chemours Company , July 1, 2015
  9. ^ How DuPont spin-off Chemours Came Back from the Brink. In: Fortune. May 18, 2016, accessed July 14, 2016 .
  10. Edward Graham Jefferson: Biographical Memoirs ( Memento of February 14, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  11. ^ Curriculum vitae of Edgar S. Woolard, Jr.
  12. ^ DuPont in Germany , accessed October 23, 2012
  13. Global Proprietary Seed Market Shares, Context Network. ( Memento from February 26, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  14. ^ DuPont: Corporate Crimes. Corporate Watch UK, 2002.
  15. Billionaire deal for market leadership - DuPont wants to take over Danish business partner , process.vogel.de, January 10, 2011.
  16. ^ Nathaniel Rich: The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare . In: The New York Times . January 6, 2016, ISSN  0362-4331 ( nytimes.com [accessed October 13, 2019]).
  17. Robert Bilott. In: The Right Livelihood Award. Retrieved October 13, 2019 .