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Bayer Polymers to discontinue Cobalt-polybutadiene (CoBR) production in Marl

Reason for decision: drastic drop in demand for CoBR

06-08-2003: Bayer Polymers, a division of Bayer AG, is planning to discontinue the production of Cobalt-polybutadiene (CoBR) at its subsidiary Bayer Buna GmbH in Marl in the first half of 2004. The reason for this decision is primarily the accelerating drop in demand for this rubber product. The CoBR facility has a total capacity of 45,000 metric tons. Some 75 employees will be affected. The company has started an information and consultation process with the works council and in the coming weeks will be working on finding individual solutions for those involved. Bayer Buna GmbH currently employs around 240 people in Marl. The production of EPDM rubber which also takes place in Marl is unaffected.

BR from Marl serves as a general-purpose rubber in tires and, in particular, as a plastics modifier for the manufacture of High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), which is used in packaging materials and a variety of other applications. Owing to increasing substitution of CoBR by Lithium-polybutadiene (LiBR) in the HIPS application, production volumes have fallen drastically. "Closing the facility is therefore an absolute necessity in view of our strategy to improve profitability. Given the structural changes in the market, we see no possibility of continuing CoBR production in Marl," said Dr. Joachim Grub, Head of BR / Butyl Global Operations at Bayer Polymers.

Bayer Polymers will concentrate its remaining polybutadiene production at its sites in Orange (Texas, USA), Port Jérôme (France) and Dormagen (Germany).

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