Due to the lingering coronavirus pandemic, fiscal 2021 is expected to remain a challenging year for the global economy. The growing availability of vaccines and increasing options for fighting the pandemic are having a positive effect, however. In parallel, we are observing a significant recovery in demand compared with the prior-year quarter. The steps taken by Covestro early on last year to protect the health of all employees will stay in place, so far-reaching health, safety, and hygiene measures are still in effect at our sites. Depending on the local situation in each case, some of our staff, particularly employees in administrative departments, are working from home. Production at our sites was not affected by the pandemic in the first quarter of 2021.
Covestro is monitoring the development of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide on an ongoing basis to ensure that we can react quickly when necessary. Existing measures are modified and continually expanded as required in line with recommendations and instructions issued by the relevant governments and committees of experts.
On February 25, 2021, Covestro signed an agreement on the sale of its 51% equity investment in subsidiary Pearl Covestro Polyurethane Systems FZCO, which operates the systems house business in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), to current co-shareholder Pearl Industries Overseas Ltd. The proceeds of the sale total an amount in the mid-single-digit millions of euro. The sale is part of an ongoing effort to optimize the portfolio and represents another step toward strategically refocusing the Polyurethanes segment. Subject to approval by the responsible authorities, the transaction will close in the second quarter of 2021.
On April 1, 2021, Covestro completed the acquisition of the Resins & Functional Materials (RFM) business from Koninklijke DSM N.V., Heerlen (Netherlands). Completion of this acquisition of RFM in the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment makes Covestro one of the world’s leading suppliers of sustainable coating resins.