German chemical giant BASF AG officially is creating a new focus on plastics - even beyond any new acquisitions.
With the May 1 purchase of Honeywell Inc.'s engineering resins business, BASF (Booth S155) also officially changed the name of its plastics and fibers business unit to solely plastics.
``For us, May 1 is day one,'' said Jay Baker, group vice president of performance polymers, during a May 1 telephone interview. ``Today is the first day we now have combined offerings and we can take a look at what our future is going to be.''
The deal, first announced in January, swaps Honeywell's plastics business in exchange for BASF's nylon fibers unit and $90 million in cash. BASF, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, will sell resins developed under both its own brand name and that of Honeywell to keep customers happy. Behind the scenes, the company also will combine the best technology from both operations for future offerings.
``BASF benefits from the tremendous relationships that Honeywell has had with its outstanding product portfolio,'' Baker said.
The firm also is taking advantage of NPE to roll out its new presence.
``It's almost like a coming out party for us,'' Baker said. ``There'll be a lot of discussions about it, and we're going to be showing off both what we've had in BASF and at Honeywell.''
About 500 people globally have shifted to BASF from Honeywell - 250 of them in North America. Integration teams are deep in investigations now to determine what new products may emerge, and also what possible changes the company may have to make going forward to streamline operations.
The joint business should help the firm expand its market presence, Baker noted. BASF had a greater presence in the automotive sector than Honeywell, but Honeywell's plastics reached further into the industrial and power tool segments.
Going forward, he expects to see a greater push into fuel-cell technologies, front-end module development for the auto industry and more conversion of metal components to plastics.
Employees formerly with Honeywell, meanwhile, should see greater stability under a corporation firmly established in the plastics industry, officials said. Three years ago, General Electric Co. was set to buy Honeywell and bring its resins under the GE Plastics umbrella, but European officials quashed the deal, leaving the company hanging.
BASF, meanwhile, is continuing to increase its plastics presence. On April 24, it announced a tentative deal to buy Sunoco Inc.'s plasticizer operations.