NEW YORK (June 28)—When Bayer A.G.'s Lanxess GmbH polymers unit officially takes wing July 1, one of its top priorities will be to establish a butyl rubber manufacturing presence in Asia, according to the unit's top executive.
Demand for butyl in Asia comes from two primary sources, makers of tires and pharmaceutical packaging, according to Ulrich Koemm, the management board member responsible for the company's polymer operations.
With tire production growing by leaps and bounds in China, demand for butyl, and in particular halobutyl, for inner liners is expanding robustly as well, Koemm said. In addition, annual use in China alone of butyl for rubber stoppers for pharmaceutical uses is expected to quadruple by 2010 to 15,000 metric tons.
Koemm declined to discuss specifics of the company's plans for Asia, saying making the transition to a stand-alone unit will occupy management's time for the short term. Plans to take Lanxess public are on hold for now but will be revisited next year.
Lanxess encompasses four primary Bayer business areas: performance rubber, engineering plastics, performance chemicals and chemical intermediates. Rubber represents annual sales of $1.6 billion, or about one-fourth of Lanxess' corporate revenues, while rubber chemicals—part of performance chemicals—account for about $630 million.