DuPont Discusses Acquisition of Rogers Corporation

Nolan Johnson gets the latest news from Avi Avula, vice president and general manager of Interconnect Solutions at DuPont, regarding the recent announcement of DuPont’s intent to acquire Rogers Corporation.  Avula outlines the motivation for the acquisition, and how the two companies complement each other. Avula also gives some detail on how this might affect customers and business operations, under the proviso that it is early in the process and that many details have not yet been worked out.

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Audio Transcript

Nolan Johnson: Hi, Nolan Johnson here for I-Connect007. I'm speaking today with Avi Avula. He is the vice president and general manager for Interconnect Solutions at DuPont. Avi, welcome.

Avi Avula: Thank you, Nolan. It's good to be here and share with you what we're doing in our business.

Johnson: There is some big news coming out of DuPont, isn't there?

Avula: Yes. We just announced a few days ago some big changes in the company, certainly one around our portfolio change, but the more exciting part that's relevant to our business is the announced intended acquisition of Rogers Corporation, which we're really excited about bringing into our electronics and industrial family.

Johnson: Bringing your company and that company together creates a kind of an interesting scenario. What's the motivation for this acquisition?

Avula: Yeah. Rogers is a great company we've admired for a long time. They have a broad portfolio in very advanced electronic materials that participate in high growth market segments, whether autonomous vehicles or telecom or 5G applications, electric vehicles. And it's an area that DuPont is also doubling down and investing in growth for our business.

We see a lot of complimentary capabilities in the Rogers portfolio that are additive to our electronics and industrial capabilities. Specifically, Rogers has been a company we've admired for a long time. And in one of our segments, we also participate in the same industry as peers. And so it's an exciting opportunity for us to bring in that portfolio into the business and look at bringing more technical solutions to our customers.

Johnson: Speaking of which, how do you perceive this intended merger affecting customers?

Avula: Well, certainly we think about what Rogers brings plus the DuPont capability, whether in the markets we play in today or the markets of the future is to enhance the science-based offering. We practically have no overlap in our product portfolios. So what Rogers brings in their multiple different divisions, actually enhances the focus areas for DuPont electronics and industrial. Specifically speaking about the printed circuit board market, it's an area that is getting more and more interest as we look at the mega trends of 5G, Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles that require more and more advanced electronics and high performance capabilities.

And more critically as we look in the future, there's more interdependency of these various materials offerings and being able to tune and provide higher performing devices and designs. The Rogers portfolio in combination with the DuPont electronics and industrial portfolio allows us to bring more total solutions to our customers. In the printed circuit board space, for example, the ICS business that I lead today has a broad portfolio of materials offerings into the printed circuit board market. We provide flex laminates, we provide dry film imaging and also metalization chemistries.

These are core and critical elements of designing an advanced printed circuit board. What we haven't had in our portfolio is the high performing rigid laminates that are tied to the 5G ADAS and the advanced electronics markets where Rogers has a very strong participation. This would be, when this acquisition closes, this would allow DuPont to offer a more compelling technical value proposition to the market and actually enhance the industry to move it forward because we can bring more and more interdependencies into play between rigid laminates and flex laminates, rigid laminates and dry film imaging, and metalization to provide more complete designs.

Johnson: That makes sense. Now I'm sure customers listening to this would have some questions about how this affects some of the other services and departments they may touch, brand, customer service, distribution, R & D, etc. How do you see that changing with the merger?

Avula: So first of all, DuPont has acquired many companies in the past, and we recently also closed the acquisition of Laird into our business. We value these companies that come into the company and certainly preserve the best of what they can bring to the customers and continue to keep that going for the customers. But also then we look to enhance it with the DuPont capability. DuPont is a large global corporation with the deep history and innovation and global reach and a brand, so we will use that to make that offering even better and more compelling.

I can't speak to specific details about the future in terms of distribution or brand, but what I can talk about is our goal is to see how we can make it better for our customers. The real reason DuPont pursued an acquisition like this is to say, we have the science capability, we have the breadth, we have the brand recognition to complement strong brands like Rogers, like Laird to help enhance their value proposition in the market further.

For example, DuPont has some deep relationships with major OEMs and corporations around the world. And companies like Rogers could benefit from those relationships as well. And in addition, a company like Rogers has strong participation in the market that could also benefit DuPont. So our goal would be to preserve the best of both and look at how we can enhance it further with this combination.

Johnson: Should customers expect to see any changes to daily operations and their interactions with Rogers?

Avula: I don't want to comment about specifically what might change, but I can share our intention with any acquisition that we would look to preserve and enhance the experience. Certainly there are customers listening to this today that know that DuPont is a supplier to them. And also Rogers is a supplier to them and of different materials. And our commitment here is to ensure that we can enhance that experience further. The goal here, because Rogers brings a new material portfolio into the ICS portfolio, it's additive. It helps us bring more value to our customers and that will be the goal.

Johnson: Would you say the Rogers leadership team and DuPont are working well together?

Avula: Well, again, today we are separate companies and we will still be separate companies until the deal closes and that is targeted for some time in Q2 2022. At that point in time, we can comment about structure and the future of the management team because today I don't have the liberty or the ability to comment on a public company that is not owned by DuPont.

Johnson: Well, thanks, I can sure appreciate that, Avi. Final thoughts?

Avula: Well, we're really excited about this acquisition announcement. ICS has been on a journey to provide total solutions for leading advanced interconnect applications. And over the last several years, we've built our capability to bring that total solution value proposition using our flex laminates, our dry film imaging, and our metallization chemistries. We are seeing a lot of pull from OEMs and leading edge customers on being a partner, not just in manufacturing, but also designing processes.

As you know, Nolan, that the process and the design are quite interdependent. You can't simply design a circuit and then expect the materials will magically work. But having that breadth of materials allows us to tweak different solutions, either change the chemistry or the dry film or the substrate to make that design come true. With the Rogers acquisition, we will be in a better position to have a more comprehensive approach to designing both the circuit design in partnership with the OEM, and partnering on the manufacturing side, providing them solutions on how to tweak the entire process.

We certainly want to be the best materials provider in each of our segments, but we also recognize that the ability to actually design an integrated circuit on a PCB and then provide a solution of how to manufacture is a very compelling value proposition that as the technology gets more and more advanced, we will be in a position to help serve our customers even better. So we're really excited about that.

Johnson: Thanks for taking the time with us to talk this through. I know this is a story and a process that we'll be covering over time as you complete the merger. Very interesting for the industry. Thank you, Avi.

Avula: Thank you, Nolan. It was great talking to you.



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