FMC Health and Nutrition’s facility in Rockland (Photo by Jim Sollers)
FMC Health and Nutrition’s facility in Rockland (Photo by Jim Sollers)
Last Friday, FMC Corporation announced a deal that would include selling its carrageenan manufacturing plant in Rockland to the Delaware-based chemical conglomerate DuPont. Under the deal, DuPont will acquire FMC’s Health and Nutrition division and FMC will acquire the Crop Protection portion of DuPont’s business. DuPont is required to divest of its crop protection holdings as part of the European Commission ruling related to DuPont’s merger with the Dow Chemical Company, according to a company press release. The two corporations are expected to close on the deal later this fall.

“As announced, DuPont will acquire FMC Health and Nutrition which includes the Rockland, Maine site,” wrote FMC spokesman Dwayne Roark in an email. “During this sign-to-close period, it is ‘business as usual’ for FMC and we will continue to work with and within our communities as we do today. We do not have any specifics about the future of our sites at this time. We will share updates as we learn more about our transition with DuPont following the close of this agreement, which is expected in the fourth quarter of 2017.”

As part of the deal, FMC will acquire DuPont’s global insecticide portfolio, cereal broadleaf herbicides, and a large portion of DuPont’s global crop protection R&D capabilities. FMC has agreed to pay DuPont $1.2 billion for its holdings. According to the company, the acquisition will make FMC Agricultural Solutions the fifth-largest crop protection chemical company in the world by revenue, bringing in approximately $3.8 billion per year. 

“FMC Health and Nutrition is a highly profitable business with leading positions across the vast majority of its portfolio, deep applications knowledge and an extensive global network of laboratories and manufacturing facilities,” said Pierre Brondeau, FMC president, CEO and chairman, in a statement. “It is a very complementary fit with DuPont’s current portfolio. We are confident it will thrive under DuPont’s leadership and will contribute to their successful Nutrition & Health business.” 


In a statement, DuPont noted that in 2016 FMC’s Health & Nutrition business generated more than $700 million in revenues, mainly from its texturants as food ingredients and pharmaceutical excipients. DuPont CEO Edward D. Breen said the acquisition of the FMC division is “highly complementary to DuPont’s existing Nutrition & Health business (N&H)” and it will enable DuPont to “strengthen its N&H capabilities with broader offerings and an expanded footprint.”

“This agreement with FMC is a win-win. It is pro-competitive; it advances the regulatory approval process; and it maintains the strategic logic and value creation potential of our merger with Dow and the three independent companies we intend to create," said Breen in a statement.

With over 100 employees, the Rockland FMC plant is one of the largest employers in Knox County. Originally named the Algin Corporation, the company was founded by Victor LeGloahec and used the brown seaweed known as kelp to make alginate, which was used as a food additive. In 1945, the company began work with carrageenan, another food additive, extracted from red seaweed, that is used in a variety of food processing applications and as a binding agent in toothpaste. The Rockland facility is the only manufacturer of carrageenan in North America and sources most of its seaweed from Indonesia, South Africa and parts of South America. 

FMC Corporation purchased Marine Colloids Inc. in 1977, creating Marine Colloids Division, but reorganized several times during the 1990s. Marine Colloids Division became Food Ingredients Division and later FMC BioPolymer. FMC BioPolymer includes carrageenan operations in Rockland, Maine, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Cebu, the Philippines.