BAYER AG (EXCHANGE: BAYRY.PK)
Bayer is best known in the US as the supplier of Bayer aspirin, but in reality it is a major German chemical company with interests in pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, and specialty materials. Bayer originated as a manufacturer of synthetic dyes in 1863. Bayer invented aspirin. It also invented urethanes, a class of polymers that includes high performance paints and synthetic rubber.
Bayer is headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. It lost its rights to the Bayer aspirin name under the War Power Act during World War I, and reacquired the name only recently. Bayer (along with BASF and Hoechst) was part of the German dye trust, known as IG Farben, which supplied chemicals and synthetic oil to the Germans during World War II. It entered the US market after World War II in a jv with Monsanto known as Mobay, but antitrust proceedings forced Monsanto to sell its interest.
In the US, Bayer is usually pronounced with a long A as in Bayer aspirin. In Germany, the a is short, making the name sound more like Buyer to Americans.
In 2004, Bayer spun off selected polymers and chemical businesses as Lanxess.
In 2014, Bayer announced plans to divest its Materials Science unit which includes its remaining polyurethanes and polycarbonate plastics. The unit will begin using the Covestro name in 2015. They plan to grow their life sciences businesses instead.
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