Bayer announces Werner Baumann as new CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Effective May 1, 2016, Werner Baumann will become the new Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, said the producer on its site.

This was decided by the company’s Supervisory Board at its meeting today. The current CEO of Bayer AG, Dr. Marijn Dekkers, proposed to the Supervisory Board that his contract be dissolved effective April 30, 2016, following the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting. The Supervisory Board approved this proposal.

"With its clear focus on the Life Science businesses and its new organizational structure, Bayer is in a position of strength. The course for successful future development has already been set at all levels. Also with a successor from within the company there will be no need for a familiarization period. I would like to wish Werner Baumann every success in his new role," said Dekkers, whose contract was originally set to run until December 31, 2016. At the present time, Baumann is the Board member with responsibility for Strategy and Portfolio Management. He will retain these functions in the future. Going forward, the Board of Management of Bayer AG will comprise seven members instead of eight.

"Following rapid implementation of the realignment under Dr. Dekkers’ leadership, Bayer is now entering a new era as a pure Life Science company. That is why this is now the right time to hand on responsibility for managing the company. We are very grateful to Dr. Dekkers. During his term of office, Bayer has experienced an extraordinary development in both operational and strategic terms,” said Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Bayer AG. “In Werner Baumann, Bayer has a strong and experienced management personality from within its own ranks. In his various positions at Bayer and as a member of the Board of Management since 2010, he has contributed substantially to strengthening and realigning the company. We are convinced that, under Werner Baumann’s leadership, Bayer will continue along its track of successful development," Wenning said.

As MRC reported earlier, on 1 September 2015, Bayer AG moved a step closer to floating its EUR11 billion (USD12.3 billion) specialty chemicals business by "legally and economically" separating the unit, now named Covestro AG. The German pharmaceuticals group plans to float Covestro, previously called Material Science, by the middle of 2016 year and potentially as soon as last autumn. Bayer plans either an initial public offering or direct spinoff to shareholders. The company has previously indicated that it preferred an IPO, which would generate cash for heavily indebted Bayer.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech polymer materials. As an innovation company, it sets trends in research-intensive areas. Bayer's products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2014, the Group employed 118,900 people and had sales of EUR 42.2 billion.

Westlake Chem attempting hostile takeover of Axiall

MOSCOW (MRC) -- After local company Axiall Corp. rejected their unsolicited USD1.4 bln merger offer in late January, Westlake Chemical Corp., located in Sulphur, made overtures directly to Axiall’s shareholders, thus launching an attempt at a USD2.9 bln hostile takeover, reported Plastemart.

On Tuesday, February 16, Albert Chao, Westlake’s president and CEO, released a statement offering to Axiall shareholders a slate of "independent and highly qualified nominees, committed to acting in the best interests of all Axiall shareholders," to replace Axiall’s current board of directors. "We have heard from many Axiall shareholders who have expressed their desire for Axiall to engage in discussions with us regarding our proposal," he said.

In a return statement issued Wednesday, February 17, Axiall stated they viewed the board nominations to be an "attempt to force a sale of Axiall to Westlake at a price that significantly undervalues Axiall’s assets and its long-term prospects." The statement further questioned the proposed members’ "independence" and charged that, "if elected to the Axiall board, Westlake’s nominees would have inherent conflicts given Westlake’s focus on acquiring Axiall."

The initial offer from Westlake Chemical Corporation, made public January 29 and delivered to Axiall January 25, was for the acquisition of all of the outstanding common shares of Axiall at USD20 per share in the form of USD11 in cash and 0.1967 shares of Westlake stock.

After a review by Axiall’s board and financial and legal advisors, Timothy Mann, Axiall president and chief executive officer, issued the following statement: "We believe that Westlake’s proposal is an opportunistic attempt to take advantage of challenging public equity market conditions and significantly undervalues Axiall’s assets and its long-term prospects. The price of Axiall stock was at USD20.18 as recently as Dec. 1, 2015. We remain committed to achieving our USD100 million run rate cost reduction and productivity target by the end of 2016."

In October of 2014, Axiall Corporation announced plans for a USD3 billion ethylene production facility and adjacent mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant near the Maplewood area of Sulphur. Mann addressed that also. He said Axiall is also committed to "our investment in the LACC ethane cracker project with our joint venture partner Lotte Chemical." The project is on track for breaking ground in 2019.

Axiall is a chemical company formed in 2012 from the chemical assets of PPG and Georgia Gulf. The PPG products are primarily chlor-alkali. The combined companies will be the third largest producer of chlor-alkali in the US after Dow Chemical and Occidental. PPG will own 50.5% of the combined companies. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a U.S. manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals and polymers, headquartered in Houston, Texas. The range of company's products includes ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, caustics, polyvinyl chloride and plastic products. Westlake is one of the major ethylene producers in the US and its Calvert City operation is a large integrated PVC site.

Primas to shut factory in western Turkey

MOSCOW (MRC) -- One of Turkey's oldest and biggest plastic wood and PVC window producers, Primas, decided to halt production in its Gebze plant, according to the company statement, as per Yenisafak.

"According to a board meeting on April 3, 2015, the company decided to close all production from its plant in Turkey's western city of Gebze," Pimas said in a statement released on Monday.

The statement also read that the governing body of the company took this decision because of gradually decreasing company profits in recent years.

The plant will be completely closed, including production and logistic activities, on March 31.

As MRC informed earlier, in Aug. 2014, Deceuninck Group acquired 81.2 percent of Pimas Plastik Insaat Malzemeleri AS, the leading PVC window profile producer in Turkey, for about 57.7 million Turkish lira (USD26.5 million).

Primas, one of the oldest and largest plastic wood and PVC windows producers in Turkey, was founded in 1963 and became a world-famous brand in the PVC and construction sector.

DSM adding jobs in Evansville, USA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DSM Engineering Plastics Americas is increasing production in Evansville, Ind., as part of a move that will create as many as 25 new jobs by the end of the year, said Plasticsnews.

DSM EPA recently has added additional weekend production shifts at its 175,000-square-foot Evansville plant, where it makes compounds based on a variety of engineering resins. The site now has around-the-clock production, officials said in a Feb. 22 news release.

The 160-employee Evansville site will be renovated and new equipment will be installed over the next five years. Increased production will allow DSM EPA to provide "more efficient and reliable production" of its materials into products such as air intake manifolds, mobile connectors and office chairs, officials added.

"Evansville is rich in resources with expertise in custom thermoplastics," Randy McGowan, operations vice president, said in the release. "This has allowed us to expand our operations quickly and to respond to changes in the marketplace."

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will provide up to USD200,000 in conditional tax credits for the expansion. Vandenburgh County also is considering additional incentives, officials said. "There’s a higher concentration of manufacturing jobs in Indiana than any state in the nation," Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith added in the release. "That’s driving international companies like DSM, which could locate these new jobs anywhere, to choose Indiana for job creation."

As MRC informed earlier, Royal DSM (Heerlen / The Netherlands) has signed a partnership agreement with long fibre thermoplastic (LFT) specialist Plasticomp (Winona, Minnesota / USA) to develop bio-based LFT composite materials based on DSM’s "EcoPaXX" polyamide 4.10.

DSM EPA is a unit of global plastics and chemicals supplier Royal DSM NV of Heerlen, The Netherlands. Royal DSM employs more than 25,000 worldwide and has annual sales of more than USD10 billion.

Saudi Kayan to take off-stream cracker for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Kayan is in plans to shut its cracker for a maintenance turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that the company is likely to shut its cracker in early March 2016. The cracker is slated to remain under maintenance for around 40-45 days.

Located at Al-Jubail in Saudi Arabia, the cracker has a production capacity of 1.5 million mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Ministry allocated an additional 10m cbf/d (2.8m cbm) of ethane to Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co (Al Jubail / Saudi Arabia) to enable an expansion of capacity at its Al Jubail complex. The company plans to widen its ethylene production by at least 93,000 t/y and its ethylene oxide capacity by 61,000 t/y from the second quarter of 2017.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company is a manufacturing affiliate of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic).