LEVERKUSEN, Germany (Nov. 14)—Bayer A.G. will consider retaining a minority share of its chemicals and rubber business after it's spun off next year but will wait until closer to the spinoff date to gauge market conditions, Bayer Chairman Werner Wenning told shareholders recently. Bayer announced its plan Nov. 7 to spin off the chemicals and rubber businesses into a separately traded public company, but Wenning said Bayer also could launch the new firm, called "NewCo" for now, via initial public offering and retain a minority share. The spinoff will take place by early 2005 at the latest, Bayer said. NewCo will be a $6.5 billion a year company with production facilities and sales organizations in 20 countries with 20,000 employees. The solid rubber business, with 3,600 employees, will represent about $1.6 billion in sales, with rubber chemicals accounting for an additional $630 million, Bayer said.