Rhein Chemie Goes On Block

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Chemical giant Bayer AG announced plans to divest three subsidiaries, including rubber and lubricant additives manufacturer Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH.

Rhein Chemies biggest business is selling additives for rubber processing but it also makes light-colored, low-odor sulfurized EP additives for lubricants, along with antiwear additives, corrosion inhibitors and some additive packages. Eighty percent of its lube additives go into metalworking fluids and greases, with the rest going to industrial hydraulic fluids, industrial gear oils and other specialty applications.

The sell-offs are part of a larger reorganization plan which will turn Bayers remaining operations into independent subsidiaries of a management holding company. In addition to Rhein Chemie, Bayer plans to sell fragrance and flavor producer Haarmann and Reimer. Bayer and Degussa will also sell their 50-50 joint venture, PolymerLatex GmbH and Co.

Bayer Management Board Chairman Manfred Schneider said in a Dec. 6 news release that all three companies have strong potential but that Bayer no longer considers them central operations. Changes in customer structures and in the world market would require additional resources and investments that would not be consistent with Bayer’s focus on core businesses, he said. We are sure these companies stand to benefit from the change.

Officials said Bayer has not set a timetable for the divestments and that potential buyers have not yet been identified.

For now, we are operating as usual, Wolfgang Kober, president of U.S. subsidiary Rhein Chemie Corp., said from his office in Trenton, N.J.

Rhein Chemie is based in Mannheim, Germany and employs 1,100. In 2000, it reported worldwide sales of Euro 376 million (US$338).

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