December 9, 2015  | by Andrew Brown and Ken Ward Jr.

The Dow Chemical Co. plant in Institute, West Virginia, would be impacted by the company’s reported merger with DuPont. The two companies employ hundreds of Mountain State residents.

West Virginia officials anxiously await information about possible merger discussions between Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont, two of the region’s larger chemical manufacturers.

On Wednesday, national news media, starting with The Wall Street Journal, published reports about unannounced negotiations to combine the two chemical giants, both of which operate facilities in the Mountain State and employ hundreds of its residents.

Neither company would comment on the reports, but news of Dow and DuPont possibly uniting their operations sent shares for both companies skyrocketing by more than 10 percent Wednesday.

Communications staff for both companies responded to interview requests with email messages stating that they “do not comment on rumor and speculation.”

The reports of the two companies possibly merging are just the latest news to affect the chemical manufacturing industry in West Virginia.

It follows the recent finalization of DuPont’s long-awaited spin-off of its “performance chemical” segment into the independent Chemours Company. In July, DuPont announced the completion of that spin-off, which included a transfer in ownership of a large part of the former DuPont manufacturing plant in Belle and about half of the company’s Washington Works plant, south of Parkersburg.