LEVERKUSEN, Germany (March 10, 2009)— Bayer MaterialScience A.G. said it will shut down its MDI plant in Brunsbuettel, Germany, April 1 in response to changing demand.
Bayer MaterialScience said that, based on forecasts and the current economic outlook, the company expects to be able to meet MDI demand from customers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region from its other European plants at Uerdingen, Germany, and Tarragona, Spain.
According to Bayer, the break will be used for scheduled maintenance work. Restart of the the 160,000 metric ton per year unit "will depend on the economic conditions and demand situation later this year," Bayer said.
Long-term plans by the group call for this plant to be replaced by a 400,000-metric-ton-per-year MDI plant. The move is part of Bayer's aim to reorganize its isocyanate production in Europe by 2013, in which the company will also build a 300,000-metric-ton-per-year gas-phase TDI plant at Dormagen.
CEO Patrick Thomas said the group also has idled one 100-ktpa TDI train at Baytown, Texas, as a result of current low demand.
In polyurethanes, Thomas said, Bayer's MDI and TDI plants globally are running at about 70 percent of nameplate capacity, while its new MDI plant in Shanghai, China, is running at about 50 percent capacity.
In its polycarbonates business, Bayer has idled 6 lines globally, cutting back to 50 percent of nameplate capacity to meet low demand.
Thomas stressed that, although capital expenditure for Bayer has dropped, that major projects will not be affected.