By Liz White, UT staffTokyo-In Japan, Bayer's MaterialScience operation reported a ten-percent rise in sales for 2004, to Yen 56 000 million ($530 million), compared to 2003. This compares with overall sales growth for Bayer's Japanese subsidiary of 2 percent, to Yen 221 000 million. Bayer said the market for polyurethane products was "dominated by strong demand and consistently higher raw material prices." This was particularly the case, Bayer said, for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate in Asian markets, especially China, leading to "outstanding business results." The group added that an overall strategy to shift from commodity products to high value-added systems, in applications such as headliners, contributed to the strong results. Sales of thermoplastic polyurethane resins "remained brisk," Bayer said, and the group's strategic focus on developing new applications and on replacement of polyvinyl chloride, also pushed its market share up.The MaterialScience subgroup consists of Polycarbonates, Polyurethanes, Coatings, Adhesives and Sealants raw materials, Thermoplastic Polyurethanes and the H.C. Starck business. Bayer has eight companies that operate in Japan: Bayer Ltd, Bayer Yakuhin, Ltd, Bayer Medical Ltd, Bayer CropScience KK, Sumika Bayer Urethane Co. Ltd, H.C. Starck-V TECH Ltd, DIC Bayer Polymer Ltd, and Teijin-Bayer Polytec Ltd. In 2004, figures for the divested Lanxess AG unit were also included."