MARL, Germany (Aug. 5)—Bayer Polymers A.G. will cease production of cobalt-based polybutadiene at its Bayer Buna GmbH plant in Marl next year, citing an "accelerating drop" in demand for this type of polybutadiene, which is used primarily as an modifier for high-impact polystyrene. Bayer plans to phase out production at the 45,000 metric-ton-per-year facility during the first half of next year; 75 of the Marl factory's 240 employees will be affected, Bayer said. The move is "an absolute necessity in view of our strategy to improve profitability," said Joachim Grub, head of Bayer Polymers' BR/Butyl global operations. "Given the structural changes in the market, we see no possibility of continuing CoBR production in Marl." Cobalt-based BR is being replaced by lithium BR, Bayer said. The production of EPDM rubber at Marl is unaffected. Bayer Polymers plans to concentrate its remaining polybutadiene production at sites in Orange, Texas; Port Jerome, France; and Dormagen, Germany.