Andrew Liveris plots Australian investments

first_imgDow Chemical CEO and chairman Andrew Liveris has announced there’s every chance the US-based chemical company will be looking for new investment opportunities, and Australia could be its next port of call. “Dow’s capital expenditure cycle will be reaching a peak this year. Beyond 2017 our cash flow forecasts suggest we will be looking for more investments,” 61-year-old Mr Liveris told The Australian this week during a whistle-stop visit down under.“We are a company that is growing organically. We are at record profits, record cash flows, record numbers of patents, record new products, but we are restless for growth. We have a tremendous number of investment opportunities in front of us that we are prioritising,” he said, adding that the next 12 to 18 months would be a critical period for Dow as it rolled out several new major projects.Dow is involved in a start-up of a new chemical complex in Saudi Arabia, two new production plants on the US Gulf Coast and the sale of its chlorine business.Mr Liveris was due to visit Melbourne for the launch of the Hellenic Initiative’s Australian division but was unable to be present at the organisation’s inaugural $300 a head dinner due to unforeseen commitments in China.One meeting he was able to attend was with the federal government’s Growth Centres Advisory Committee, organised by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.Mr Liveris has suggested Australia should diversify its economy – away from the mining sector – by placing greater attention on identifying new industries and products. One suggestion he gave was that the Australian government should rethink its domestic gas policy – to use the bulk of the gas it produces, rather than export it. The Dow supremo said that if more pipelines were built, producers and consumers could be linked, particularly users on the east coast.“Adding value to energy in Australia remains one of the country’s great opportunities,” he said. “The country is gas rich.”Mr Liveris said that such a plan would “connect some of the little guys who have found gas in the middle of Australia or the NT, with users who don’t want to pay the world price for natural gas”.While in Beijing Mr Liveris met with senior Chinese government officials to discuss Dow’s new range of Enlist agricultural products – a combination of genetically modified corn and soybean seeds, and herbicides.Dow is projecting its Enlist product will generate more than $1.4bn a year by 2018.Enlist products will not be sold in China, but to producers in North and South America who will sell their crops to the Chinese market. Chinese authorities have been slowing down approval processes for new products out of concern for the country’s environment and food safety.With his humble beginnings at the Dow Chemical Company in Melbourne 40 years ago, Mr Liveris has been at the helm of the multinational for more than a decade. In 2012 Dow’s sales totalled approximately $57 billion.But the Darwin-born entrepreneur is hinting at retirement in the next couple of years. “I have a lot of energy and a lot of resilience but there comes a time when the company is ready – you are ready and your successor is ready,” he said, adding that the role of a global chief executive today was to “operate at the intersection of business and government”.Source: The Australian Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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