Bayer AG plans to close 15 polymer plants worldwide by 2005, eliminating 1,800 jobs and saving the Leverkusen, Germany, firm almost $625 million a year.
The Aug. 9 announcement comes less than a month after a pre-K 2001 news conference where Bayer officials discussed plans to invest $1.45 billion to grow the polymers business, which is the largest of Bayer's four business units.
In the first half of 2001, Bayer's polymer profit dropped almost 28 percent to 432 million euros ($386 million) even as sales grew almost 9 percent to 5.7 billion euros ($5.1 billion). Companywide, Bayer's first-half profit dropped more than 16 percent, while sales rose almost 5 percent.
The first half was especially disastrous for Bayer in North America, where the firm lost 118 million euros ($105 million). The region represented almost one-third of Bayer's total global sales in the first half.
Bayer officials offered few details of how the polymer plant closings will be carried out, but spokesman Gunter Forneck said most of the impact will be in North America and Europe, where most of the business is concentrated.