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Bayer MaterialScience LLC announces transition to business park and specialty chemicals facility at New Martinsville

Published on 2007-10-05. Author : SpecialChem

New Martinsville, W.Va. -- The Bayer MaterialScience LLC site in New Martinsville has completed its transition from a commodity chemical plant to a state-of-the-art specialty chemicals facility and business park. Bayer also announced its first tenant at the new business park - the River Valley Bio-Refinery LLC, which will build a biodiesel facility. As announced in 2006, the methylene diphenyl isocyanate (MDI) facility at the plant was closed on Sept. 30, 2007.

"We have achieved a major milestone with the closure of the MDI facility and a new tenant to produce biofuels at the New Martinsville business park," said Peter Vanacker, head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit and a member of the Executive Committee of Bayer MaterialScience.

"Our restructuring program for MDI and toluene diisocyanate (TDI) in the NAFTA region is now complete," said Patrick Thomas, chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer MaterialScience. "We have consolidated NAFTA production into our world-scale plant at Baytown, Texas." The Baytown facility has an MDI capacity of 300 kilotons annually and a TDI capacity of 200 kilotons annually. The New Martinsville plant had an MDI capacity of 73 kilotons annually.

Bayer MaterialScience is continuing its $23.5 million investment program in the New Martinsville plant's infrastructure to support its success as a specialties site and industrial park for third party investment.

Jim Covington, New Martinsville general plant manager, explained that the new biodiesel facility will be built using some of the land and equipment previously used to make MDI. "We're excited that not only will we be participating in the production of green fuels for the future, but also that some of the land and equipment that we have been using for MDI production will also be recycled to produce this clean, renewable fuel," Covington said.

"Although approximately 230 positions were affected by the MDI closure, no salaried or hourly personnel were laid off because of various pension enhancement and voluntary separation programs we were able to offer," Covington explained.

Covington said the New Martinsville facility will continue to be an MDI, TDI and hydrochloric acid transloading and distribution center, sourcing material from the Bayer MaterialScience Baytown plant. The facility will also continue to produce other isocyanates and polyols, coatings raw materials and thermoplastic polyurethanes. Isocyanates and polyols are combined to make flexible and rigid polyurethane foams, which are used in furniture, automotive, construction, appliance and sporting goods applications.

Bayer last year announced an $8 million investment to upgrade and expand specialty polyether production at New Martinsville, including state-of-the-art programmable control/safety systems to automate and increase the efficiency of the process. As a result of this and other investments, cycle times and product consistency have improved while reducing energy consumption (5 percent) and solid waste generation (9 percent).

"The New Martinsville Industrial Park offers world class safety and environmental performance with both OSHA STAR and Responsible Care 14001 certifications," Covington said. "We have available land; significant quantities of available steam generation and waste water treatment; motivated, well-trained employees, and extremely low electrical costs. We also offer engineering and construction services through our Bayer Technology Services affiliated company. We can assist tenants with all phases of their project from design, construction, start-up and operation of their manufacturing facilities."

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with nearly 14,900 employees at 30 sites around the world and 2006 sales of 10.2 billion euros from continuing operations. Our innovative developments in coatings, adhesive and sealant raw materials, polycarbonates, polyurethanes and thermoplastic urethane elastomers enhance the design and functionality of products in a wide variety of markets, including the automotive, construction, electrical and electronics, household and medical industries, and the sports and leisure fields. Our inorganic basic chemicals unit produces chlorine and related essential products for the chemicals industry. Let us give life to your vision.

Bayer MaterialScience - Where VisionWorks

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2006 net sales of 7.8 billion euros and employed 17,200 at year end. Bayer's three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people's lives through a broad range of essential products that help prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability.

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. Th ese factors include those discussed in our public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including our Form 20-F). The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Source: Bayer MaterialScience

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