By Liz White, UT staffLeverkusen, Germany-Bayer AG's board has approved Euro 700 million in investments at Bayer MaterialScience AG. BMS will use the money in to expand its capacity for the key polyurethane raw material methylene dipheny diisocyanate (MDI) at its Caojing site in Shanghai, where a 350 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) plant is scheduled to go on stream in 2008. This MDI project is the largest part of the investment, which also includes expansion of the polycarbonate plant in Caojing to 200 ktpa, and expansion of chlorine production at Baytown in Texas to 500 kpta from its current 300 kpta. "Approval from the Board of Management gives us the green light to press ahead quickly and as planned with the implementation of major investment projects between now and 2008," said Dr Hagen Noerenberg, chairman of Bayer MaterialScience, in a company statement. "All of the planned measures are aimed at safeguarding the long-term future of the company."The MDI and polycarbonate plants are part of Bayer's $1800-million investment in its integrated site in Caojing between now and 2009. "These two new world-scale production plants mean that we are very well equipped for the future given the continued strong increase in demand for these high-quality materials in the Asia-Pacific region," Noerenberg added.Chlorine is an important starting block for polycarbonates and polyurethane components. BMS is the sixth largest chlorine producer in the world, producing chlorine to serve its own needs in a backward-integrated production chain. At Baytown, the company is adjusting its capacities to meet increasing demand, the Bayer statement added. Some of the finance will go towards refurbishment at the Bayer Chemical Park in Leverkusen. Bayer MaterialScience plans to move into a new headquarters there in late 2006 / early 2007. PIC: Dr Hagen Noerenberg, Bayer MaterialScience chairman. "