Dow Chemical Co., the Number Two U.S. chemical firm, has announced one of its subsidiaries has agreed to buy a unit from specialty chemicals company Rohm and Haas Co., for about $1 billion in a bid to expand Dow's global reach in the agricultural chemical business.

Under terms of the agreement, Dow AgroSciences LLC will buy Rohm and Haas' agricultural chemicals business, including its fungicide lines, insecticides, herbicides, other product lines, trademarks, and license to all agricultural uses of its biotechnology assets.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2001, subject to regulatory approvals, the companies said.

The sale will result in the transfer of ownership of parts of Rohm and Haas' manufacturing sites in Jacarei, Brazil; Barranquilla, Colombia; Lauterbourg, France and Mozzanica, Italy; all of the Nantong, China plant will transfer, as well as assets owned by Rohm and Haas in Muscatine, Iowa.

The Philadelphia plant's agricultural chemicals operations will become a manufacturing site for Dow AgroSciences.

In 2000, Rohm and Haas ag product sales were $531 million. With this acquisition, Dow AgroSciences' annual sales are expected to be about $3 billion annually.