Bayer MaterialScience LLC plans more investment in Asia, putting a polycarbonate film extrusion plant in Thailand and scouting for a new PC compounding plant in southern China's manufacturing center.
The Leverkusen, Germany-based firm disclosed at Chinaplas that it plans to start the film facility with one extrusion line at its PC complex in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, in 2007 and is actively looking for spots for another PC compounding plant in China.
``Our main investment focus is located in the Asia-Pacific region,'' said Guenter Hilken, global head of BMS' PC business unit.
He declined to give details of the southern China plant to serve the industrial corridor near Hong Kong but said specifics like production capacity would be announced by year-end. Customers in the region want additional support in areas like color matching.
Bayer opened a 88.2 million-pound-per-year PC compounding facility in Shanghai in mid-2005, and is on track to start a 220.5 million-pound-per-year PC-making facility there later this year.
``Our aim is to raise the level of sales generated in the Asia-Pacific region from 18 percent in 2003 to 25 percent by 2007,'' said Reiner Retting, BMS senior vice president of PC for Asia Pacific. ``In China, our target is to more than double our current sales over the next 10 years.''
BMS had sales of 10.7 billion euros ($12.7 billion) in 2005.
In Thailand, the company said the new PC film-making facility will have a capacity of between 2.2 million pounds and 4.4 million pounds per year and will be easily expandable.
The facility will target markets like identification cards, mobile phones, electronics films and liquid crystal display screens. It will be its first PC film facility in Asia.
The company is making other investments in China. It plans to expand its Polymer Research and Development Centre in Shanghai, to boost local R&D functions, and it recently set up an expanded distribution network in China.
The company set up a registered trading company in Shanghai with four branch offices in the country, and it transferred 100 Bayer employees from other units to work there. BMS, Bayer's largest unit, upped its employee count in China by 30 percent last year, to 1,500.
The company expects the trading unit to handle $1 billion in sales in five years, including from large-scale polyurethane and coatings plants that BMS plans to bring online in Shanghai by 2009.
Bayer said it is one of the first multinational firms to get approval to set up its own trading subsidiary in China, with full import and export rights.