Innovative materials such as those produced and constantly improved by Bayer MaterialScience are the driving force behind technological progress. The planned demerger from the Bayer Group is expected to make MaterialScience the fourth-leading chemical company in Europe – and enable it to apply its strengths even more effectively.
His eyes scrutinize it closely as he taps it a few times and runs his hand over the gleaming black surface – Hans-Jörg Dahmen nods in satisfaction. “A perfect sample,” he says, putting the freshly pressed rectangle down in front of the injection molding machine. Here at the technical center in Leverkusen, the engineer from Application Development at Bayer MaterialScience has just examined a new panoramic roof for a car. The sample product is made from high-performance polycarbonate and was produced in a single process. And it’s 50 percent lighter than conventional glass roofs. “Automotive manufacturers are grateful for such developments because the less a vehicle weighs, the greater its fuel efficiency and environmental compatibility,” Dahmen explains.
The automotive sector is just one of many key industries for which Bayer MaterialScience produces and develops materials, and polycarbonate is one of its main products. It also supplies the components for polyurethanes, a highly versatile class of plastics used in many everyday items such as flexible foam for mattresses, car seats and upholstered furniture. And in the form of rigid foam, they serve primarily as insulation for buildings and refrigeration equipment. Polyurethane chemistry is also the basis for precursors used in coatings, adhesives and sealants, which also form part of the Bayer MaterialScience portfolio. The company holds leading positions on the world market in all of these segments.
Whether protective coatings, insulating foam or lightweight polycarbonate: products like these can help to master the challenges posed by climate change, increasing mobility and the growth of cities. “With this in mind, we develop sustainable solutions that contribute to preserving the environment, improve our quality of life and create value,” says CEO Patrick Thomas. The foundations underlying all this are a culture steeped in innovation and our proximity to customers all over the world.
Added to these factors are a strategy aligned to technological and cost leadership, along with highly modern, competitive large-scale facilities in which the company continues to invest. In late 2014, for example, MaterialScience commissioned a particularly efficient and environmentally friendly plant at its site in Dormagen, Germany, for the production of the polyurethane component TDI. Total investment in the plant came to €250 million.
Independence is intended to put the company in a position to apply its strengths even more effectively, rapidly and flexibly against the global competition. Most importantly, it will then be easier for MaterialScience to raise the capital it needs to continue developing its business and align its organization, processes and corporate culture solely toward its own industrial environment and business model. The plans call for MaterialScience to be a stand-alone company with a new name by mid-2016 at the latest – likely as the fourth-largest chemical company in Europe, with approximately 16,800 highly skilled employees who have every reason to be optimistic for the future.
Patrick Thomas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Bayer MaterialScience, on the subgroup’s strategy
Following the announcement of the planned flotation, all eyes are now on Bayer MaterialScience and there are high expectations – among employees, customers and potential investors. I am convinced that we are optimally equipped for the future. We know this because our company has many advantages: a consistent focus on innovation and sustainability, outstanding employees, market-leading positions, and locations close to its customers. Then there are our advanced technologies and safe plants, which ensure highly efficient, cost-effective production. The materials we offer worldwide are first-class and help people to overcome formidable challenges. I am looking ahead with confidence, and I hope you share my enthusiasm as we set out on the road to independence.