Rohm & Haas salt sale off the table

  Rohm & Haas tried unsuccessfully to sell its Morton Salt unit last year. Now that business is helping the Philadelphia chemical maker weather the slowdown in U.S. business, credit analysts say.
  Salt is "recession proof," and a spike in winter road-salt sales helped "cushion" the drop in U.S. chemical demand and the rise in petroleum and propylene costs, wrote Andrew Brady and Wen Li at CreditSights. 
  At Gimme Credit, research director Carol Levenson saw two ironies: "Weak building and construction markets and higher input costs depressed chemicals results, while plain ole Salt (the only segment without a fancy, high tech name) was the weather-aided star, with sales growth of 26% and pretax income up 43%."
  Also, Rohm & Haas borrowed $1.5 billion to buy back stock last year, but "that ungrateful stock market is still not satisfied," driving the stock down 8 percent on yesterday's earnings report. "The combination of weaker fundamentals and more aggressive shareholder enhancement is a recipe for deteriorating credit profile."
  So salt is off the table, for now: Rohm & Haas "is waiting for the credit markets to stabilize before continuing to explore its options," concluded Brady and Li