InterviewBayer MaterialScience business to strengthen in 2010

26 February 2010 23:21  [Source: ICIS news]

Bayer MaterialScience CEO Patrick Thomas By Franco Capaldo

LEVERKUSEN (ICIS news)--Bayer MaterialScience chief executive Patrick Thomas forecast on Friday that the business would experience significant growth in 2010 on the back of strong demand from Asia.

“2010 is going to be a difficult year as we come out of the recession so we will not regain the heights of our business until 2011/2012, but I think what we will see is significant growth in a couple of our sectors particularly in polycarbonates where we are seeing recovery which is relatively strong and quick, driven very strongly by Asia,” he said.

He spoke to ICIS news on the sidelines of the company’s results announcement.

“Although we have seen this recession in the Americas and in Europe, in Asia there really has not been a financial crisis and what we are seeing is huge growth in domestic demand and also industrial demand, particularly in China,” he added.

“If we take the example of polycarbonates, what we are seeing are a lot its uses in net books, and flat screen TVs, which is growing 20% every year at the moment,” he said.

“We are also seeing polycarbonates uses in many small electronic devices, like mobile phones and PDAs [personal digital assistants], all of which are driving very high growth. Asia was about 55% of the market before the crisis - however it is now over 65% of the market.”

The Bayer MaterialScience chief also discussed his outlook for methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) demand for this year.

Bayer decided to restart its Brunsbuettel MDI plant in Germany amid ongoing poor demand in the construction sector and an oversupply situation.

“We idled the Brunsbuettel plant about a year ago as part of our mothballing activities to try and make sure we were only operating the plants we needed,” Thomas said.

“The demand level has hit a point where we needed to restart the plant,” he said. “We always try and match supply and demand it’s as simple as that. Restarting the unit was a part of our production schedule.”

Thomas said he expects to see strong demand for MDI throughout 2010.

“Typically in the history of MDI a couple of years decline are then followed by a massive catch up year, very often with double digit growth,” he said.

“My forecast would be between 7 and 8% growth….in which case having the right plants online is extremely important for customers in the view of availability.

“The same is true for TDI; except this is already very tight…Plants are pretty well stretched at the moment,” he said. “All of our TDI units around the world are waiting for our new plant to be finished by the end of this year to bring up new capacity in China.”

Bayer MaterialScience is set to finish building its new 250,000 tonne/year TDI plant in Shanghai by the end of 2010.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Franco Capaldo
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