By David Reed, UT EditorWyandotte, Michigan- BASF Corp., BASF AG's North American unit, has created a subsidiary to manage all activities related to its spray-applied polyurethane foams (SPF) in the United States. The new unit, BASF Polyurethane Foam Enterprises llc, will operate out of the Minneapolis facility previously owned by Foam Enterprises llc, which BASF purchased in March last year.Joel Johnson has been appointed general manager of the new unit, with effect from 1 Jan., 2006. He succeeds Dennis Holbert, who has elected to retire, said BASF in a 16 Nov. statement.The move " concludes the phased restructuring of BASF's Polyurethane Systems business unit," the statement said, adding that BASF will also close its SPF product development facility in Cartersville, Georgia, by Feb. 2006. The employees based there have been offered positions as part of this restructuring, the BASF statement added.BASF previously announced the closure of its polyurethane systems production facility in Carrollton, Texas, by mid-2006, and has also closed its SPF sales and training support facility in Hudson Falls, New York. The BASF Polyurethane Foam Enterprises sites in Minneapolis and Houston, Texas, will absorb business activities previously based at these locations, the statement added.The move is part of BASF's restructuring programme in North America, which aims to reduce fixed costs through a broad range of projects designed to optimise business and site operations, the firm's statement explained. It will create "the largest SPF business in this region," said Bill Bernstein, group vice president of BASF's Polyurethanes business in North America. "Customers will benefit from the breadth of SPF products, expertise and training from the unified organisation, as well as the comfort of experiencing no disruption in service or supply of the SPF technology they've utilised, whether from BASF or Foam Enterprises," he claimed.Bernstein added that the reorganisation reaffirms BASF's commitment to the polyurethane systems market. "This action is part of BASF's restructuring programme in North America to reduce fixed costs through a broad range of projects designed to optimise business and site operations. Streamlining our polyurethane systems unit's operations will strengthen our long-term competitiveness, and we will remain a major supplier of these important materials in North America," he said.BASF Polyurethane Foam Enterprises llc will market BASF's SPF product line under its current trademarks and formulations, including Elastospray SPF roofing, Walltite insulating air barrier system for industrial/ commercial/institutional applications, Enertite insulating air-barrier system for residential applications, and Zerodraft sealants for 'hard-to-build' areas, the statement continued. The new unit will also continue to market the Foam Enterprises product lines, including FEcoat roofing systems, SprayTite commercial insulation systems, Comfort Foam residential systems and AmeriGlue adhesives.Finally, BASF Corp. emphasises that it will continue to supply urethane-based systems for a wide range of rigid and flexible foam markets. Typical end-use products include commercial refrigeration, flotation equipment, shoe soles, recreation products, building panels and insulated food containers. Automotive systems applications for BASF polyurethanes include soft skins and foams for airbag covers, armrests and headrests, interior trim, instrument panels and seating."