Bayer MaterialScience plans to significantly expand its R&D and production of high-grade materials in China, investing more than $1.3 billion to accelerate production of the polyurethane raw material MDI and high-performance polycarbonate by 2016.
The headquarters of the Polycarbonates Business Unit will be relocated from the company’s main Leverkusen, Germany, site to Shanghai, “to ensure even greater proximity to the booming polycarbonates market in Asia,” the company said in a news release.
“This means Bayer will focus even more intensively on the Asia/Pacific region, where it expects consistent growth in its customer industries.”
Capacities for MDI will more than double to 1 million metric tons a year and for high-performance polycarbonate to 500,000 tons per year. The company also intends to significantly strengthen its R&D activities in the country.
"The expansion of our capacities in China is an important step in strengthening our presence in the emerging economies," said Bayer AG’s Management Board Chairman, Dr. Marijn Dekkers. "We want to increase Group sales in Greater China to around €5 billion by 2015. MaterialScience is expected to contribute at least half of this amount."
In fiscal 2009, the Bayer Group in Greater China recorded sales of €2.1 billion, including €1.2 billion from MaterialScience.
This is one of the biggest single investments to date for Bayer MaterialScience, said CEO Patrick Thomas. In terms of sales, China is the second most important country in the world for the Bayer subgroup, he added. The group is already investing €2.1 billion in Shanghai as part of a long-term project lasting until 2012.
Memoranda of understanding have been signed for both projects.
Coatings Chemical Production
A significant part of the investment package is the expansion of HDI production. HDI is an important starting product for high-quality surface coatings. There are plans to expand the capacity of the existing HDI production to meet short-term market demand. The construction of a further 50,000-ton-per-year HDI production facility is also planned.
With the expansion of its R&D center for polymers in Shanghai, Bayer MaterialScience plans to concentrate on areas in which China plays a leading global role, such as wind turbines and solar energy plants, the company said.
AkzoNobel Opens 6th China Plant
AkzoNobel has underscored its ambition to double revenue in China within the next five years by opening its sixth powder coatings facility in the country.
The plant is located in the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, a major industrial and manufacturing hub in central China.
The new factory will manufacture AkzoNobel Powder Coatings’ flagship Interpon range of products and joins the business’ five existing sites in Shenzhen, Langfang, Ningbo, Suzhou and Chengdu.
“China is fundamental to our new sustainable growth strategy, and this sixth plant is the latest in a series of new facilities AkzoNobel has inaugurated in the region,” said Leif Darner, the board member responsible for the company’s Performance Coatings activities. “Our ambitions for China are clear, and we are committed to achieving them.”
The Wuhan facility’s current production capacity is 4,000 tons per year and can be further expanded. The additional capacity boosts AkzoNobel’s ability to meet growing demand in what is one of the largest powder coatings markets in the world.
AkzoNobel currently employs about 6,500 people in China, with the country hosting 11% of the company’s Research, Development and Innovation resources. The company’s focus on China will be further strengthened next month when AkzoNobel officially inaugurates its new €275 million multi-site in Ningbo.