LEVERKUSEN, Germany (Dec. 29)—Bayer A.G. is increasing capacity for the polyurethane raw material MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) at sites in Tarragona, Spain, and Baytown, Texas. The company, through its new MaterialScience grouping, is raising annual capacity over the coming two years 30.4 percent at Baytown to 300,000 metric tons and 50 percent at Tarragona to 150,000 tons. The investment cost was not disclosed.
The expansions also require an increase in Bayer's production of aniline—a raw material for making MDI—at its plant in Antwerp, Belgium. Bayer says this expansion "underscores its leading role as a polyurethane raw materials manufacturer." The company will have annual global MDI capacity of about 920,000 tons when these expansions are complete in 2006. Capacity will grow by another 230,000 tons by 2008 when a plant in Caojing, China, comes on stream. "We expect the MDI market to grow at around 6 percent a year—twice the rate of the global GDP," said Peter Vanacker, designated head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit of Bayer MaterialScience.