Bayer Corp. of Pittsburgh plans to restructure its styrenics business in the next two years, expanding its Addyston, Ohio, plant and closing its plastics operations in Muscatine, Iowa.
Company officials said the move would not change the company's overall production capacities for ABS and styrene acrylonitrile resins. Bayer acquired both facilities from Monsanto Co. of St. Louis in 1995.
The Muscatine site is still operated by Monsanto, which also produces agricultural chemicals there. Monsanto's other operations will not be affected by Bayer's ABS/SAN move.
``The ABS resin business is changing, and we at Bayer Corp. plan to remain a major supplier to the North American market,'' said Peter Mueller, Bayer senior vice president of plastics. ``But to do this, we've had to look at our facilities and make some decisions about how we can most effectively manage the business.''
The Addyston site, which employs 650, polymerizes and compounds Bayer's ABS, styrene acrylonitrile, weatherable polymer, polycarbonate/ABS, nylon/ ABS and styrene maleic anhydride resins. Monsanto employs 180 at Muscatine's plastics operations, which were launched in the mid-1970s.
Bayer will move some equipment from Muscatine to Addyston, but the Addyston expansion also will include the purchase of new production equipment, company officials said. They declined to say how many lines would be moved or replaced.
Bayer ranks second to GE Plastics in North American ABS production. The market has suffered in recent years from overcapacity and fierce intermaterial competition, particularly from polypropylene.
Bruce Kleinert, Bayer's ABS product manager, said the company took market conditions and performance into account when making the Muscatine-to-Addyston move, but he added the final decision was more a result of Bayer's review of how it wants to move ahead in the styrenics business.
``This isn't a vote of concern or displeasure relative to Muscatine's production,'' Kleinert said in a recent telephone interview. ``But the Addyston plant is wholly owned by Bayer and when we looked at how we would invest substantial capital for the future, [Addyston] was the logical choice.''
The restructuring at Addyston is scheduled to be completed by mid-2000, Kleinert said.