Bayer to float MaterialScience on the stock market

After months of speculation on the fate of Bayer MaterialScience, Bayer’s plastics subsidiary, the German chemical firm says it intends to float the MaterialScience business on the stock market as a separate company within the next 12 to 18 months. A major reason for this move is to give MaterialScience direct access to capital for its future development. It says that this access can no longer be adequately ensured within the Bayer Group due to the substantial investment needs of the Life Science businesses for both organic and external growth. Also, as a separate company, MaterialScience can align its organisational and process structures and corporate culture entirely toward its own industrial environment and business model

Thus, in the future, Bayer will focus entirely on the Life Science businesses - HealthCare and CropScience. In this way Bayer says it is positioning itself as a world-leading company in the field of human, animal and plant health. The Supervisory Board unanimously approved the Board of Management's plans on Thursday. "Our intention is to create two top global corporations: Bayer as a world-class innovation company in the Life Science businesses, and MaterialScience as a leading player in polymers," Bayer CEO Dr. Marijn Dekkers announced. He said both companies have excellent prospects for success in their respective industries. Employment levels are expected to remain stable over the next few years, both globally and in Germany.

In recent years, Bayer's center of gravity has greatly shifted toward its Life Science activities with the successful launch of novel pharmaceutical products, the pending acquisition of the over-the-counter products business of Merck & Co, US, and the very successful development of the CropScience business. The aim is to continue the positive development of these activities in the future through further investment in growth. Following its regular evaluation of the business portfolio, the Board of Management has therefore decided to focus the company on these areas. The Life Sciences currently already account for about 70% of Bayer's sales and 88% of EBITDA before special items.

The companies of the future Bayer Group had pro forma sales of approx. EUR29 billion in 2013. They will employ nearly 99,000 people, including about 29,500 in Germany. Corporate headquarters will remain in Leverkusen.

"Bayer will continue as an enterprise with an attractive and balanced portfolio and a primary focus on organic growth," Dekkers explained. To this end, the company intends to raise its R&D spending, selectively strengthen early research at the interface between HealthCare and CropScience, and continue driving the successful commercialisation of the recently launched pharmaceutical products.

"We firmly believe that MaterialScience will use its separate status to deploy its existing strength even more rapidly, effectively and flexibly in the global competitive arena," Dekkers commented. A strategy and corporate culture aligned to technological and cost leadership, coupled with the ability to make its own investment and portfolio decisions, would give MaterialScience the best development prospects in a highly competitive market. That, said Dekkers, includes direct capital market access so that it would not have to compete with the Life Science businesses for investment funding in the future.

"MaterialScience is a very well positioned business that today operates very modern, competitive, large-scale facilities. We have steadily invested in these facilities, even in difficult economic times," Dekkers pointed out, citing the world-scale production facilities in Shanghai, China, and the new TDI plant in Dormagen, Germany, which is to be officially inaugurated in December. Between 2009 and 2013 alone, Bayer invested a total of over EUR3.8 billion in property, plant and equipment and research and development for the MaterialScience business.

Following the intended flotation, MaterialScience will be Europe's fourth-largest chemical company; it had global sales in 2013 of more than EUR11 billion (pro forma figure). The new company is planned to have a global workforce of roughly 16,800, including about 6,500 in Germany. It will have a new name and a separate identity and be headquartered in Leverkusen.


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