Bayer Polymers, a division of Bayer AG, is planning to discontinue the production of Cobalt-polybutadiene (CoBR) at its subsidiary Bayer Buna GmbH in Marl in the first half of 2004.
The Marl facility, which currently has a total capacity of 45,000 metric tons, is ceasing production due to the ‘accelerating drop in demand for this rubber product.’
Some 75 out of 240 employees will be affected and Bayer has started an information and consultation process with the works council to find alternative employment for those involved. The production of EPDM rubber, which also takes place in Marl, is said to be unaffected.
CoBR from Marl serves as a general-purpose rubber in tyres and as a plastics modifier for the manufacture of High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), which is used in packaging materials and a variety of other applications.
Owing to increasing substitution of CoBR by Lithium-polybutadiene (LiBR) in the HIPS application, production volumes have fallen drastically.
‘Closing the facility is therefore an absolute necessity in view of our strategy to improve profitability. Given the structural changes in the market, we see no possibility of continuing CoBR production in Marl,’ said Dr. Joachim Grub, Head of BR / Butyl Global Operations at Bayer Polymers.
Bayer Polymers will concentrate its remaining polybutadiene production at its sites in Orange, USA, Port JÃ©rÃ´me, France and Dormagen, Germany.