November 30, 2012
Science For A Better Life:

150 years of Bayer: Success through innovation and change

  • Dekkers: Bayer products have become indispensable to our lives
  • Numerous events planned in 2013

Leverkusen, November 30, 2012 - The Bayer Group will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2013 with numerous events around the world. "Bayer can look back on a long and highly successful history as an inventor company," explains CEO Dr. Marijn Dekkers. "What started as a small but innovative dyestuffs factory in the Barmen district of Wuppertal is now a global enterprise with more than 110,000 employees. In the past 150 years, Bayer inventions have time and again helped improve people's quality of life. This great tradition is also our commitment to the future - entirely in line with our mission of Bayer: Science For A Better Life." To mark the anniversary, Bayer is planning a series of events and projects worldwide throughout the coming year. These will focus on the company’s employees and their families - but neighbors, customers, partners and the scientific community are also to be included in the celebrations.

"Bayer products have become indispensable to our lives," says Dekkers. One example is the pain reliever Aspirin™, which came on the market in 1899 and remains one of Bayer's top products to this day. Over the decades, Bayer's researchers have developed pioneering active substances to treat infectious, tropical and cardiovascular diseases, for example. Today, pharmaceuticals research at Bayer HealthCare concentrates mainly on the fields of cardiology and hematology, oncology, women’s healthcare and diagnostic imaging.

A further focal point of Bayer research is agriculture. When Bayer started selling Antinonnin, the world's first synthetic insecticide to control the nun moth, in 1892, it was the start of a success story. Today, Bayer CropScience is a global leader in its field. This success is based on innovations - not only chemical and biological crop protection products that offer sustainable solutions, but also high-quality seed. Added to this is a broad range of products and services for home and garden and forestry applications.

In the area of high-performance materials, the polyurethanes for foams discovered in the 1930s and the high-performance polycarbonate (Makrolon™) that was patented in 1953 form the basis for an ever-expanding range of applications. Today, high-performance materials from Bayer MaterialScience make an important contribution to conserving fossil resources. Polyurethanes, for example, are used to insulate buildings and thus reduce the amount of energy used in heating or cooling. Lightweight materials help make cars lighter, thereby cutting their fuel consumption. It is thanks to the invention of aliphatic polyurethane coatings that assets can be preserved for longer than ever before. Modern coating systems can withstand both wind and weather and put a shine on cars, ships, rail vehicles and wind turbines.

150 years of ongoing change and renewal

150 years of Bayer - an anniversary like this instantly calls to mind words such as tradition and continuity, according to Dekkers. However, Bayer can actually look back on 150 years of ongoing change and renewal. "A company cannot exist in the long term without changing and adapting," emphasizes Bayer's CEO.

The company was founded as "Friedr. Bayer et comp." on August 1, 1863 by business-man Friedrich Bayer and dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott in the Barmen district of Wuppertal. Bayer initially produced synthetic dyestuffs but the range of products grew significantly over the years. In 1881, the company was made a joint stock corporation - "Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co." - and developed into an international chemical company. In the course of expansion, Bayer relocated its headquarters to Leverkusen in 1912. Following the First World War, in 1925, the company became part of the I.G. Farbenindustrie AG conglomerate. It was re-established as an independent company named "Farbenfabriken Bayer AG" in 1951.

The pace of change picked up significantly following Bayer's 125th anniversary in 1988. The company shifted its focus more towards its core activities, resulting in the sale of subsidiary Agfa in 1999. In 2005, Bayer then spun off significant parts of its traditional chemicals business under the name Lanxess. At the same time, the health care and agriculture businesses - referred to as the life sciences - were systematically expanded, especially with the acquisitions of Aventis CropScience (2001) and Schering AG, Berlin, Germany (2006). "Thanks to our innovative strength and our ability to adapt constantly to market changes, Bayer now holds leadership positions in all its business areas," says Dekkers. The spirit of inventiveness and the will to succeed form the bridge spanning the company's history from its origins 150 years ago to today.

Celebrating with employees, neighbors, partners, customers and the scientific community

"All of that is reason enough to celebrate this anniversary in a befitting way," says Michael Schade, Head of Corporate Communications. Bayer is planning a whole series of events next year. These will focus on its more than 110,000 employees all over the world. Celebration events are also planned for the company’s neighbors, customers and partners and a symposium is to be held for the scientific community in the fall.

In the area of corporate social responsibility, too, Bayer will set a new signal to mark its anniversary. Each year, the company supports some 30 volunteering projects involving its employees and retirees in Germany. In 2013, this support is to be expanded significantly and will also be offered worldwide.

"It goes without saying that we want to use our anniversary to make the Bayer name even better known across the world," continues Schade. One of the projects being prepared is a traveling exhibition that will visualize topics related to health care, agriculture and high-performance materials. This exhibition is scheduled to visit more than 20 sites throughout the world. A further highlight will be an airship displaying the Bayer Cross that will travel to all continents during 2013. Various publications are also being prepared. These will provide detailed and sometimes surprising insights into the inventor company. "We've got a lot planned for the coming year but we don't want to reveal everything just yet," says Schade. The company will publicize details about the planned activities next year.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. As an inventor company, it sets trends in research-intensive areas. Bayer’s products and services are designed to benefit people and improve the quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and acts as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. In fiscal 2011, the Group employed about 112,000 people and had sales of €36.5 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to €1.7 billion, R&D expenses to €2.9 billion. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
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.