LEVERKUSEN, Germany (April 30)—A Bayer A.G. plan to cut business costs within its polymer business by $250 million by year-end "cannot fully offset current pressure on margins," according to the group. The unit's profitability "is crucially dependent on a recovery in general economic conditions," it said. The comments accompanied first-quarter results showing polymer margins at 3.5 percent—well below the 15-percent target set by the group last year. For the first three months of 2002, Bayer polymer operating income fell 60 percent to $77 million on 7-percent lower sales of $2.2 billion. Bayer's rubber business group suffered a 6-percent sales dip to $500 million, mainly because of continuing weak demand from the automotive industry, Bayer said. The polyurethanes business increased sales by 4 percent to $566.7 million.