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State Premier Kraft,
District Administrator Petrauschke,
ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased that you have joined us today to celebrate this very special start-up. It is the highlight of TDI’s 50-year history at the Dormagen site.
The process we use here to manufacture this precursor for flexible polyurethane foams is particularly efficient and environmentally friendly.
We have been operating a small pilot plant for TDI here in Dormagen since 2004. In 2011, it was the basis for the successful start-up in Caojing, China, of the first large-scale plant to use innovative gas-phase technology.
In its turn, the plant in China was the model for the new facility in Dormagen which we are starting today.
Around 250 million euros have been invested in this plant. It is to have an annual capacity of 300,000 tons and supplies raw materials for the production of comfortable mattresses, softly upholstered and lightweight chairs, and car seats.
This investment also represents a commitment to Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia as a manufacturing base. Over the past ten years, we have invested more than one billion euros to maintain and expand MaterialScience production facilities in North Rhine-Westphalia alone.
We are sending a very visible signal with this major investment in our new TDI plant.
The Chempark site in Dormagen was chosen from among a number of sites throughout Europe. It can provide the necessary raw materials and precursors and offers a well-established infrastructure on which we can build.
And, very importantly, Dormagen has a highly motivated and extremely well-qualified workforce.
All these factors demonstrate that this site has very clear advantages to offer.
However, this is no reason for complacency.
In the light of ever-stronger global competition, conditions here must be such that we can produce competitively in the future, too.
Take the energy policy turnaround. While we all support the objective, implementation of these plans must not be to the detriment of our industry’s competitiveness and a reliable energy supply.
The annual cost to the German chemical industry as a result of renewable energy subsidies has already risen to around one billion euros.
To give just one example: Despite the relief on the EEG levy and electricity tax, MaterialScience pays almost 20 percent less for electricity in France than it does in Germany. In the United States, it pays only half the price.
This situation is not sustainable in the long term and we must work together to change it.
Ladies and gentlemen,
You all know that our MaterialScience business and Bayer will soon be going separate ways that hold a great deal of promise for both of them: Bayer as an innovation company of world rank in the Life Science businesses, and MaterialScience as a leading player in polymers.
In achieving this, Patrick Thomas and I are committed to remaining good neighbors. Both companies are well-positioned to face their respective futures.
The new TDI plant here in Dormagen represents another important step forward for MaterialScience and further improves the basis for its success as an autonomous company.
Bayer's mission is “Science For A Better Life.”
As a leading global Life Science company with extensive experience in science and innovation, we will continue in the future to set standards in improving human, animal and plant health.
MaterialScience also has an important role in overcoming the major challenges facing society – the increasing desire for mobility, the need for greater environmental protection and the ongoing conservation of dwindling resources.
For example, the polyurethanes made from MDI are used in thermal insulation for buildings and help to reduce energy consumption.
Our polycarbonates are used in a range of applications, including the construction of lighter vehicles with a resulting drop in fuel consumption.
And what do cars, bridges or the parquet flooring in your home all have in common?
They are probably protected using high-performance coatings formulated with raw materials from MaterialScience.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Many consumers are not aware of the key role played by high-tech polymer materials in our day-to-day lives.
These materials are found everywhere – in our cars and homes, at work and in our sport and leisure activities – and make our lives easier.
We all need, value and want these products. However, they don’t fall from heaven but must be manufactured somewhere using the state-of-the-art chemical industry processes. And this is where we come up against resistance time and again and increasingly often, especially when it comes to specific construction or infrastructure projects.
We could all learn and improve in this respect. The industry must become more transparent and regain the trust it has evidently lost. Many areas of the plastic industry have already done well at this over the past 30 years.
And society – of which we are also a part – must return to a less fearful and emotional approach when it comes to weighing risks against benefits.
We are largely – but not solely – responsible for our own reputation. The public cannot be aware of the importance of the chemical industry and its benefits if we do not continue our efforts to explain and demonstrate these.
The chemical industry can only be valued if there is an awareness of the prosperity and jobs it has brought to North Rhine-Westphalia.
These include the jobs at Bayer and its suppliers, in the downstream processing industry and in the communities near our sites.
We want to continue investing in both North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany. For that, however, we need strong public acceptance and a reliable basis for planning.
That is why MaterialScience pursued an active information policy from the very start of planning for this plant back in 2008. The company held many meetings with environmental groups, the political community, residents and citizens’ groups in Dormagen, Monheim and Cologne.
This honest and transparent dialogue with the public was extremely important to us and we feel it has been very successful.
As I have already said, we in the industry are ourselves primarily responsible for creating acceptance. However, we need support from the political community, government ministries and public administrative bodies.
One example of this support is the dialogue initiative implemented by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia in which we are closely involved. The results to date have been impressive.
For example, a toolkit has been developed to help companies design good participation processes.
Another element is a citizen’s guideline for participating in planning and approval procedures.
Each year, Economics Minister Garrelt Duin organizes a congress at which citizens and companies discuss current issues.
While these discussions are good and valuable, we would welcome a greater contextual link to specific infrastructure and industry projects in the future.
We must improve the way all stakeholders – companies, the government and the wider political community – collaborate in creating greater acceptance and demonstrating unity when it comes to issues of importance to the future of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year I became President of the German Chemical Industry Association. The energy policy turnaround is a key issue for me, as is funding for research. Both are important in maintaining the competitiveness of German industry.
We have been campaigning for some time for Germany to introduce tax incentives for research as a means of strengthening the country’s innovative capability and driving additional growth, especially by innovation-oriented medium-sized enterprises. Many other countries already provide incentives of this kind.
I hope that we, too, will soon see progress in this area.
To close I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has done so much to make today's significant event possible.
I am very proud of what has been achieved here.
And I look forward to the opportunities this plant will bring to MaterialScience and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Thank you for your attention.
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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