German industrial giant Bayer opened the new production facilities of its subgroup Bayer MaterialScience in Shanghai yesterday, launching the company's biggest-ever project outside Germany.
The project, based at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, will have a total investment of about US$1.8 billion by 2009.
It includes production plants for polycarbonate and polyurethane.
This marks the first time all of Bayer MaterialScience's major business units have established production bases with world-scale capacities in China, said Werner Wenning, Bayer management board chairman.
"This site will supply customers with approximately 900,000 tons of plastics products a year," he said.
"We aim to play a leading role in advancing the Chinese plastics industry through our products, technologies and employee training."
"The integrated Bayer site in Shanghai is developing into our biggest and most technically advanced production site in the entire Asia-Pacific region. In turn, this region, and particularly China, is one of the most important future markets for Bayer, a market that is set to become even more significant and dynamic," he added.
With China's manufacturing and construction industries expanding rapidly, the country has become an increasingly important market for Bayer's polymer products and a focus for investment.
The company's sales in Greater China grew by 24 percent in 2005, to US$1.6 billion. According to Wenning, this shows "that Bayer is participating in the region's dynamic economic growth. And this positive trend is continuing our sales here showed a 22 percent year-on-year gain in the first half of 2006, to US$914 million."
Bayer MaterialScience contributed by far the largest share of sales in the first six months, with revenue of this subgroup advancing by 18 percent to US$671 million in China. It is targeting sales in excess of US$1.3 billion for the year as a whole.
Polyurethane and polycarbonate are the two main products of Bayer MaterialScience. The company is currently the world's top producer of polyurethane, and No 2 in polycarbonate, said Wenning.
In China Bayer ranks NO 2 in the production of the two materials.
With China committed to building an energy-saving society, the company intends to grow faster in the field and to further expand its presence in China.
In January it signed its first major contract for roofing materials for an Olympic venue.
Under the agreement Bayer will supply polycarbonate for the Tianjin Olympic Centre, which will host soccer matches during the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Along with the inauguration of the new production facilities at Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, Bayer MaterialScience is showcasing a broad spectrum of innovation and best practice in the field of polyurethanes at its booth at the PU China exhibition in Shanghai, which ends tomorrow.
It will also announce the expansion of its polymer research and development centre facility in Shanghai.
"China is of central importance to Bayer in the Asia-Pacific region both as a production base and for our business strategy," said Wenning.
(China Daily September 6, 2006)