Joint venture doubles production capacity for EUR 50 million
Precursor for Apec®, a Bayer MaterialScience specialty product in high demand worldwide
Bayer MaterialScience is now even better positioned to meed the strong global demand for a particularly temperature-resistant, high-performance plastic. An additional chemical plant for the production of a key component for the material Apec® was brought on stream in eastern Germany. The operator is the German-Japanese joint venture, Hi-Bis, in which Bayer MaterialScience holds an interest. Hi-Bis doubled the production capacity in the chemical industry center of Bitterfeld to 10,000 metric tons per year with the roughly 50 million euro plant.
Hi-Bis produces a precursor for Apec® known as special bisphenols. The company brought an initial facility for these materials on stream in 2004. It was also the first Japanese investment at all in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The capacity expansion was made necessary by the steadily rising market demand. 17 new jobs and two trainee positions have been created.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Saxony-Anhalt State Premier Dr. Reiner Haseloff said, “This latest investment is a testament to bot the positive experience that companies have had with us here in Saxony-Anhalt and the confidence that they have in Saxony-Anhalt as a business location.” The involvement of two Japanese companies underscores the extraordinary importance of foreign investment to the state’s economy.
Speaking on behalf of Bayer MaterialScience, Dr. Rainer Rettig, Head of Sales for Europe and other regions, said that Apec® sales continue to grow unabated well above the rate for the entire plastics market, which is roughly five percent per year. Apec® is particularly well suited for articles with demanding requirements that must withstand high temperatures. Examples include the lenses of automotive headlights, housings for luminaires or hot air nozzles in hair dryers.
Bayer MaterialScience produces Apec® at its site in Antwerp, Belgium. The company holds a ten percent interest in Hi-Bis. The remaining shares are held by the Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co (35 percent) and its Honshu Chemical Industry subsidiary (55 percent). The Bayer Group maintains an important production site in Bitterfeld, which is also home to other companies from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.