Covestro: From Random Discovery to Global Success Story

Follow the company’s evolution from a chemical pioneer in the mid-19th century and a discovery by chance to a global player in today’s high-tech material markets.

The rise of Covestro between 1863 and 2018

  • 2018

    Covestro becomes a DAX member

    Covestro is included in the leading German equity index DAX, effective March 19, 2018. Since the IPO in October 2015, Covestro's market capitalization and free float have increased continuously. Covestro evaluates the inclusion as a further confirmation of the successful development of the company in the recent years and the attractiveness of the share.

  • 2017

    Second record year in a row

    In 2017, Covestro achieves the best financial results in its history – including its predecessor company. It is the second record year in a row. Driven by a high demand for high-performance plastics and significantly higher margins, Covestro increases Group sales by 18.8% to EUR 14.1 billion over the past fiscal year; accompanied by an increase in EBITDA at Group level by 70.6% to EUR 3.4 billion over the prior-year period. The Group’s core volumes rise by 3.4%.

  • 2015

    Covestro becomes a stock listed company

    Within months after its independence, Covestro is brought to the stock market on October 6. Due to volatile markets and a crisis within the automotive industry, the initial share price is EUR 26. By the end of 2016 it is EUR 65.18.

  • Covestro becomes independent

    On September 1, Bayer MaterialScience becomes a separate legal entity operating under the name Covestro. The headquarters will remain at the Leverkusen site.

  • 2014

    Opening of TDI plant with Covestro technology in Dormagen

    A state-of-the-art, large-scale plant for the particularly eco-friendly production of the polyurethane component TDI is brought on stream in Dormagen, bringing one of the most important capital expenditure projects of the last decade to a successful conclusion.

  • 2010

    Expansion of business in China

    Beginning in 2010 the company is investing about another EUR 1 billion to expand its facilities at the site in Shanghai, China. Production capacities are to be more than doubled as a result. Including the expansion, the total investment in the site amounts to more than EUR 3 billion. In addition, the headquarters of the Polycarbonates Business Unit is being transferred from Leverkusen to Shanghai.

  • 2007

    Patrick Thomas named Chairman on the Board of Management of Bayer MaterialScience

    Effective January 1, Patrick W. Thomas becomes Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer MaterialScience AG, which he joined in 2006. Prior to that, Thomas had held a number of senior management positions in the chemicals industry. Born in 1957, the UK native graduated from Oxford University with an engineering degree.

  • 2005

    Chemical activities partly transferred to Lanxess

    Publicly owned Lanxess AG is spun off from the Bayer Group on January 28, continuing its rubber activities and parts of Bayer’s chemicals business. The name “Lanxess” is a combination of the French word “lancer” (meaning “to launch”) and the English word “success.”

  • 2004

    Bayer MaterialScience AG becomes independent subgroup

    The company gains legal independence as part of a reorganization of the Bayer Group. The process started in 2002 when Bayer CropScience AG was launched as the first legally independent subgroup.

  • 2001

    Groundbreaking in Shanghai

    The Bayer Integrated Site Shanghai in China is built on a former rice field. Today the vast area is home to state-of-the-art production plants for plastics and for precursors used in the manufacture of foams and coatings. The site is a focus of investment at Bayer MaterialScience

  • 2000

    Number one in polyurethane raw materials

    Bayer acquires part of U.S.-based Lyondell Chemical Company. This move makes the German group and later Bayer MaterialScience the world’s biggest producer of raw materials for polyurethanes.

  • 1990s

    Extending the global presence

    The importance of North America to the Bayer Group continues to increase. In Canada Bayer acquires Toronto-based Polysar Rubber Corporation in 1990 – the most significant acquisition in the company's history up to that point. The transaction makes Bayer the world's biggest supplier of raw materials for the rubber industry. At the same time, the company starts to establish a global network of marketing and service centers to supply customers with tailor-made solutions locally, quickly and flexible.

  • 1970

    World's biggest hydrazine plant

    After Mobay's acquisition of a site in Baytown, Texas in 1970, the biggest hydrazine plant in the world goes on stream.

  • 1957

    Bayer completes switch to petrochemistry

    Bayer joins with Deutsche BP to found Erdölchemie GmbH in Dormagen, successfully entering the petrochemicals sector.

  • 1953

    Hermann Schnell discovers polycarbonate

    The Bayer chemist, working at the Group’s Central Scientific Laboratory in Krefeld-Uerdingen, succeeds in synthesizing polycarbonate more or less at the first attempt. The event passes almost unnoticed, except in specialist circles. But just five years later, Bayer will begin producing the transparent and versatile plastic, known by its brand name Makrolon®, on an industrial scale.

  • 1937

    New perspectives through the discovery of polyurethanes

    An invention by the chemist Otto Bayer – who is not related to the family that founded the Bayer Group – revolutionizes the chemical industry, but his discovery is by chance. After mixing two chemical substances, Otto Bayer succeeds in synthesizing the first polyurethane foam. Initially nobody has an idea what it can be used for, and it will take another ten years of development work before customized materials can be manufactured from polyurethanes.

  • 1927

    The first synthetic coating raw materials

    On April 26, 1927, the Uerdingen unit of LG. Farben registered its “transesterification" patent. This marked a new chapter in the history of coating raw materials, which today form a segment of its own within our company.

  • 1863

    Start of a chemical industry pioneer

    Founded under the name “Friedr. Bayer et comp.” in Barmen – today a district of the city of Wuppertal – the company first manufactures and sells synthetic dyestuffs from coal-tar – a technique that had just been invented. In the first decades of its existence it develops and produces synthetic dyes, intermediates and pharmaceuticals. Among its early inventions is the “drug of the century”, Aspirin. At the beginning of the 20th century the first plastics – namely rubber – is being synthesized. Around the same time, the company moves its headquarters to the city of Leverkusen.


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