By Patrick Raleigh UT On-line/ news editorLeverkusen, Germany-Bayer MaterialScience AG (BMS), part of Bayer AG, is seeking to take over certain of Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH's polyurethane activities, according to a BMS spokesman. "Negotiations are on-going," he said, adding that BMS' Polyurethanes unit was particularly interested in Rhein Chemie's PU systems for elastomer applications.Rhein Chemie, a unit of Lanxess GmbH, is an international supplier of speciality chemicals to the rubber, polyurethane, plastics, lubricant and leather industries. Lanxess, which encompasses Bayer's former chemicals, plastics and rubber businesses, is due to separate from the group at the start of 2005.Rhein Chemie's offerings to the PU industry are mainly produced at its base in Mannheim, Germany. Products include hot-cast PU elastomer systems for wheels, rollers, roll covers and other technical moulded parts, for which it also supplies amine crosslinking agents. Other products include cold-cast and light-fast urethane systems as well as one-component systems for precision coatings and flexible laminates. The firm's urethane additives portfolio covers catalysts, surfactants as well as its Stabaxol range of hydrolysis protection agents for polyester-based elastomers, thermoplastic polyurethanes, and integral skin foam systems, for applications such as shoe soles. Flame retardants, bonding agents, antimicrobials complete the additives range, though ISL-Chemie GmbH & Co. KG, a Kürten, Germany-based subsidiary of Rhein Chemie, also supplies colour pastes for PU processing. For the company as a whole, Rhein Chemie posted net sales of around Euro278 million and operating earnings (EBITDA) of Euro32.5 million for 2003. The firm employs 1100, including 550 at its Mannheim base, and has plants in Germany, the US, China and Japan among other countries. No details of the importance of the PU-related activities are available."