AKRON, OHIO - Bayer Corp. closed its $580 million purchase of Monsanto Co.'s styrenics business Dec. 31, and now is combining the businesses. With the purchase, Bayer adds $700 million in sales, giving it $3 billion in worldwide polymer sales and $1 billion in North American polymer sales, according to Peter R. Mueller, senior vice president for plastics marketing for Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corp., and Gary L. Wallace, vice president for Bayer's new Styrenics Business Group.
Wallace previously was with Monsanto, and joined Bayer with the closing. He and Mueller were interviewed Jan. 22 in Akron.
Mueller said the purchase is one aspect of Bayer's strategy to ensure its raw materials supply while adding profitable and essential products.
Bayer's primary North Amer-ican product lines now include polycarbonate, PC/ABS blends and ABS. A producer of blends for many years, Bayer previously bought ABS as a raw material from Monsanto, Mueller said.
Bayer established a new marketing organization Jan. 1 for the business, and the companies are now cross-training their staffs, consolidating product lines and planning their shared future.
Mueller said he is not expecting large changes in product offerings through the product consolidation.
He said several of the former Monsanto resin blends have matching properties and specifications with Bayer's blends, so those that are similar are likely to be merged. However, he noted that Bayer is likely to continue producing Monsanto's specialty blends.
In general, he said, there is not much overlapping of product lines or markets of the former Monsanto business and Bayer's.
Through the purchase, Bayer acquired styrenic polymer production facilities at Muscatine, Iowa; Addyston, Ohio; and La Salle, Quebec; an applications development center in Spring-field, Mass., that includes a pilot production plant and facilities to process polymers; and an automotive product development center in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Monsanto continues to operate the polymer production facilities under contract to Bayer, Mueller said.
Bayer is merging its smaller Detroit operation with the 5-year-old Monsanto development center in Auburn Hills, Wallace said. Mueller said the merger of the two businesses will broaden Bayer's position in polymers markets in North America.
Both companies have a strong presence in the automotive market, and Wallace said news about the merger already has generated new interest in their combined products from automotive customers.
Mueller and Wallace said the companies expect to see ``explosive'' grow in applications for refrigeration, medical and business machinery markets, areas in which both businesses previously were strong.
``There were great similarities in our businesses, but there also were differences,'' Mueller said.
Now, he said, Bayer is better-positioned to suggest which material is the best for a given application.
In each of those market areas -automotive, medical, refrigeration and business machinery -and in other applications, Mueller said he expects Bayer to advance its market position through the combination of raw materials, product lines and polymer production and processing technologies that were owned by both businesses.