DuPont Co., under pressure from shareholders to sell cyclical and commodity business lines and invest in faster-growing or more-profitable units, today said it's agreed to sell six plants -- in Texas, West Virginia, North Carolina, and sites in Europe and Asia -- that make vinyl and plastic bases for auto glass, building pieces and other industrial uses, to Japan's Kuraray, for $543 million. Statement here. The Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyls unit that's being sold, part of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, employs around 600, and sold product worth over $500 million to 350 customers last year. The sale should close in early 2014 pending the usual government approvals.

The plants make "polyvinyl butyral and ionomer sheets for safety glass, and vinyl acetate monomer and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) products used in a variety of architectural, automotive and industrial applications," DuPont noted. Keiji Murakami, president of Kuraray's Vinyl Acetate Co., said in a statement that his company was a "pioneer" in the business, and sells related resins and films used to pack detergents, food and gas tanks, and to reinforce insulation (as an asbestos substitute), and cement.

"We will benefit from DuPont's talented global GLS/Vinyls team and their technology, R&D, manufacturing and sales network that has supported it over the years. I am convinced these areas of expertise will allow us to continue to expand our Vinyl Acetate business going forward," Murakami added. DuPont Packaging boss William J. Harvey said its workers who are making the switch "will have a good home with Kuraray," in business since 1926.