Lanxess names top executive

Related tags Fine chemicals Material Chemical industry

Lanxess, the fine chemicals unit that is due to be spun out of
Germany's Bayer next year, will be headed by Axel Westerhaus,
currently in charge of the group's polyethers business in the US.

Dr Westerhaus will take over the running of Bayer Fine Chemicals from 1 June, replacing Dr Rudolf Hanko, who has decided to leave the company at the end of May.

Bayer took the decision to spin out fine chemicals as a new entity, after a difficult period in which the unit suffered - along with the wider European chemicals sector - from unfavourable exchange rates with the US and escalating raw materials costs as the price of oil increased.

In the first quarter of this year, Lanxess, which combines Bayer's chemical intermediates and performance chemicals (including pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients), plastics and rubber activities, reported a 2.1 per cent decline in sales to €1.48 billion, although earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose more than four-fold to €77 million from €17 million. Intermediates put in a 2.9 per cent sales rise, but fine chemicals posted a 'significant' decline in turnover.

Lanxess will 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.

Westerhaus has been at Bayer since 1984, occupying various roles in the silicones and rubber business units.

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