Bayer New Division Focusing On Materials, China

July 1 marked the debut of Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corp.'s new division, Bayer MaterialScience, which will manufacture polyurethanes, polycarbonates and coating raw materials (the division also includes the specialty chemicals and materials companies H.C. Starck and Wolff Wolsrode). The new division evolved from a restructuring of the company in November 2003 that split Bayer's products into materials, health care (pharmaceutical, consumer care, diagnostics, biological and animal health products) and crop sciences (herbicides, fungicides and seed treatment products). Additionally, most of the company's chemicals businesses will be combined and spun off as a new company, Lanxess Corp. Bayer is looking to its material division -- with 18,000 employees -- to contribute increasingly to the company's bottom line by achieving an 18% EBITDA margin by 2006. "Bayer MaterialScience is poised for long-term, sustainable growth," says Ian Paterson, a division board member. "We plan to expand our global market growth, with particular emphasis on the exceptional economic growth in China." Bayer has broken ground on a 370 million euro (US$459 million) polycarbonate production plant in Caojing, China, scheduled for operation in 2006. Coating material production is already underway at the site, and an expansion in coating material capacity in China is anticipated. Bayer wants to more than double sales in China over the next decade. In North and South America, the division includes 13 plants in Baytown and Channelview, Texas; Berlin, Conn.; Columbus and Hebron, Ohio; Deerfield, Sheffield and Newton, Mass.; New Martinsville and South Charleston, W. Va.; Santa Clara, Mexico; and Belford Roxo, Brazil.

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