NewCo float will go on, despite offers

Related tags Bayer Chemical industry Initial public offering

Germany's Bayer has received offers to buy NewCo, the newly-created
company including parts of its chemicals and polymers divisions,
but will still go ahead with plans to float it on the stock
exchange , according to the group's chairman Werner Wenning.

NewCo is due to become a separate legal entity before the end of 2005, and will be formed by a combination of Bayer Chemicals, which includes the group's activities in pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients, and some portions of its polymers business.

The independent company would have €5.6 billion in annual sales and a work force of about 20,000, ranking it among Europe's leading chemical suppliers, according to Bayer.

The interest shown in the company would seem to refute suggestions that Bayer had bundled its weaker activities into the new company.

The spin-off leaves Bayer with its pharmaceuticals unit, under the Bayer Healthcare banner and also incorporating its nutrition activities, along with Bayer CropScience (spun off as a legal entity in Autumn 2002) and Bayer MaterialScience, which includes its coatings business. The unit will have annualised sales of €22 billion and 96,000 employees.

Wenning said he had received a number of offers to buy NewCo, but that Bayer was under a commitment to continue with a float. It now has two options - either to spin-off NewCo as a new entity, or to take it down the Initial Public Offering route. At present the spin-off seems to be the preferred option.

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