For when you can't "bayer" the pain, Bayer Corporation makes your medicine. The US headquarters of pharmaceuticals and materials giant Bayer AG (or Bayer Group), the company oversees the US subsidiaries of Bayer's three global divisions: Bayer HealthCare (pharmaceuticals, animal health, and over-the-counter medicines), MaterialScience (plastics, coatings, and polyurethanes), and Bayer CropScience (herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides). Bayer Corp.'s internal services unit, Bayer Business and Technology Services, handles administrative, technology, human resources, legal, and procurement functions for the Bayer Group's US operations. Bayer Corp. has around 50 sales and manufacturing locations in the US.
As with the parent company's global business, in North America Bayer's largest segment is HealthCare (accounting for more than 50% of sales), led especially by prescription pharmaceuticals (including neurological, women's health, cardiology, and cancer drugs) and consumer care products (including Aspirin, Alka-Seltzer, and Aleve). Second to HealthCare is MaterialScience, which contributes about 25% of sales, with CropScience representing the rest. Overall, North American operations accounted for about 22% of parent Bayer AG's more than $47 billion in annual sales.
Bayer Corp.'s sales were essentially flat (down 0.6%) in 2011 vs. 2010. CropScience was the star performer (up 11%), while MaterialScience posted a 4% increase in year-over-year sales. The HealthCare segment's sales declined more than 6%, dragged down by a 14% decrease in pharmaceutical sales, partially offset by about a 1% increase in consumer health products.
The Bayer Group is focused on growing all three of its core segments. The HealthCare division became Bayer's largest through a couple of major acquisitions, including Germany's Schering AG (now Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals). The unit also forms collaborative and licensing agreements with other device and drug manufacturers. It also spends a good deal of money on research and development programs for new drugs in areas including women's health, cardiovascular care, various types of cancer, and neurological ailments. It launched several new birth control products in the US market in recent years, and in 2011 it introduced a new clot prevention drug called Xarelto.
The MaterialScience division in 2011 expanded its polycarbonate film production at its South Deerfield, Massachusetts facility. The films are used in a variety of applications, such as instrument panels, displays, membrane switches, and decals. Also, the company is investing about $120 million in its Baytown, Texas site, its largest US plant.
In 2011 the CropScience unit acquired Arkansas-based Hornbeck Seed Co., which supplies soybean, rice, and wheat seed varieties to the southern US market.
While Bayer is focused on expansion, it's also cutting costs and improving efficiencies to counteract dips in some profit areas due to tough economic conditions, increased generic competition, and other factors. In 2011 Bayer HealthCare announced plans to consolidate a number of facilities in the US.