Polymers are chemical substances consisting of macromolecules. They play a major role in the production of plastics. Well-known polymer compounds are polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (Styrofoam), polyester and polymethyl methacrylate (Plexiglas) – just a few examples from a large variety of polymers. This article is based on the unique Top 600 Chemical Companies Germany – List of the largest chemical companies.
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Two German polymer greats
Polymers serve as basic plastic products. The range of practical applications is huge. It ranges from films and packaging to car parts, furniture and appliance housings to flooring and cladding. There are hardly any manufacturing sectors in which polymer-based plastics cannot be used.
Polymer production in Germany is dominated by two major players: Covestro AG in Leverkusen and BASF AG in Ludwigshafen. Covestro used to be part of Bayer and was first called Bayer Polymers, then Bayer MaterialScience. In 2014, this business was spun off and has been operating on the market as an independent company under the name Covestro since 2015. The business is divided into the Polyurethanes (PUR), Polycarbonates (PCS) and Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties (CAS) divisions. Covestro achieved sales of €10.7 billion in 2020 with more than 16,000 employees at 30 sites in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
At BASF, polymer manufacturing is just one part of the production program. It is primarily relevant for the Materials and Industrial Solutions business segments. These segments supply precursors for plastics processing in the automotive, plastics and electronics industries, as well as for the transportation, construction and consumer goods industries. BASF Performance Polymers in Rudolstadt produces special polymers for various industries.
This article is based firstly on our list of the 600 largest chemical companies in Germany and secondly on our Chemical Industry Report. In our Chemical Industry Report of the German chemical industry you will find detailed information on areas of activity, an overview of the locations and clusters of the chemical industry, key financial figures as well as insights into the gender distribution and sustainability efforts of the industry.