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US chemicals companies thrive on shale boom’s cheap gas

These are corrosive times to be a chief executive of a US chemicals company. DuPont and Dow Chemical, the two largest companies in the sector, have been attacked by activist investors calling for them to be broken up. Other groups including Air Products and WR Grace have launched radical restructuring programmes, and all of them have had to re-evaluate their strategies following a profound upheaval in market conditions.

The boardroom headaches are a sign not of an industry that is in crisis, however, but of one that is facing its best prospects for a generation.

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