New York: Romeo Kreinberg, an executive fired by Dow Chemical Co. for holding unauthorized talks on a merger, said Dow’s accusations of a conspiracy with banks and foreign governments on a buyout are “unfounded and unsubstantiated.”
“This is highly damaging to my reputation after 30 years with Dow Chemical,” Kreinberg said on 12 April 2007 in a telephone interview from his home in Midland, Michigan. “I have never done anything to damage the company.”
Dow, based in Midland, fired Kreinberg and board member J. Pedro Reinhard earlier today. Shares of Dow, the biggest U.S. chemical maker, jumped 4.9% on April 9 after Britain’s Sunday Express reported U.S. buyout firms and investors from various Middle East nations were preparing a takeover bid of at least $50 billion (Rs.2,15,000 crore).
“I had nothing to do with this rumour,” Kreinberg said. “It’s unreal that five countries would come together to take over a chemical company.”
The Express said investors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman may make an offer.
“Me and my colleague Mr. Reinhard have been used as scapegoats to finalize the last three months of takeover rumours,” Kreinberg said.
Kreinberg worked for Dow since 1977. Until today, he headed the specialty plastics and chemical units that accounted for 44% of the company’s $49.1 billion in sales last year. He is on the board of Oman Petrochemical Industries, a venture that includes Dow and the government of Oman.
Kreinberg also sat with Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris on the executive-leadership committee, which was created last month to hasten a strategy aimed at reducing wide swings in earnings.
In response to Kreinberg’s comment, Dow spokesman Chris Huntley said, “We have the information from a highly reliable source that would know what was going on, and who we have absolute confidence in. There was no question about what we should be doing.”
Reinhard and Kreinberg own more shares than anyone at Dow, except Liveris, according to a March 23 regulatory filing. Reinhard held 531,134 shares as of 19 February, and Kreinberg held 459,463 shares.
Dow rose 91 cents, or 2% , to $46 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 16% in the past year.
Kreinberg’s total compensation last year was $7.75 million, second only to Liveris at Dow, the company said in a regulatory filing. Reinhard received $1.35 million as an employee director.