Bayer Corp. of Pittsburgh is splitting its polymers division into separate plastics and polyurethanes units.
The plastics division will produce and market Bayer's thermoplastic resins and specialty plastics, which include ABS and polycarbonate. It also will include Bayer's thermoplastic PU films business.
The PU division will produce and market raw materials and processing equipment for structural engineering polymers and foams for the automotive, appliance, construction and furniture industries.
The change will take effect on Jan. 1.
Performance products leader Nicholas Cullen will head the plastics division, while PU specialties leader Hans-Joachim Kogelnik will take over the top spot in PUs.
The polymers division previously was led by H. Lee Noble, who is retiring in May after 22 years with the firm.
``Establishing separate divisions for plastics and polyurethanes is an important strategic step,'' Helge Wehmeier, Bayer president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. ``The recent investment in manufacturing capacities in Baytown [Texas] ... attests to our commitment to these markets.''
A $1.2 billion expansion underway in Baytown will boost the company's capacity for PC, and PU feedstocks. Bayer officials have touted the project as the largest single investment in company history.
Bayer, the North American arm of chemicals giant Bayer AG of Leverkeusen, Germany, ranks second in North American ABS and PC production and is also one of the region's top three PU makers.
PC and PU markets have continued to thrive in 1998, while ABS has suffered from overcapacity and intermaterial competition.