Bayer AG is entering the U.S. polycarbonate and PET sheet business.
The Leverkusen, Germany-based company on Feb. 5 announced plans to acquire the transparent sheet division of DSM N.V. of Heerlen, Netherlands.
The deal includes DSM Sheffield Plastics, which operates two sheet extrusion plants in Sheffield, Mass.; and Axxis N.V., which operates one plant in Tielt, Belgium. The three plants employ about 300; annual sales total $135.5 million.
The acquisition is scheduled to be completed next month. Bayer AG is the parent of Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corp.
This will be the polycarbonate resin manufacturer's first foray into end-market sheet production in the United States, according to Sean Kelly, Bayer Corp.'s senior manager of polymer communications. However, the company has some sheet-producing units in Europe, and a PC sheet joint venture in Beijing.
Worldwide, Bayer produces about 1.1 billion pounds of PC resin annually and about 231 million pounds in the United States, Kelly said.
The decision to sell the Transparent Sheet business, according to a DSM news release, ``is part of the company's corporate strategy aimed at reinforcing its core activities'' in Europe as a manufacturer of stock shapes and molded components from high-performance plastics, such as nylon, acetal and ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene.
DSM had been considering selling its Sheffield and Axxis operations for several months; one serious suitor was Barlo Plastics Europe N.V. based in Geel, Belgium.
Barlo had made overtures to DSM for the division back in November.
Kelly said Bayer was attracted by the reputation of DSM Sheffield's and Axxis' products.
``I think we feel that they are a well-managed company, a leader in the field,'' Kelly said. ``It gives us an opportunity to seat ourselves here in the sheeting business and also strengthen our position'' globally.
Kelly said Bayer has no plans to change operations at any of the three plants.
``This is a new area for us, so we're not expecting any duplication or redundancy'' of employees within the operations, he said. ``The way they are running things is the way they should be run.''
Terms of the deal likely will be made public after signing, Kelly said.
Bayer also has a joint venture with GE Plastics, called Exatec LLC, to develop and market PC windows for the automotive industry. The venture has a plant in Wixom, Mich.