Covestro was established in 2015 and was formerly known as Bayer MaterialScience, the chemicals and plastics unit of Bayer.
The company “Friedr. Bayer & comp.” was founded by Friedrich Bayer and Johann Friedrich Weskott in 1863 selling synthetic dyestuffs. Weskott was the master dyer and Bayer was the business man.
Heroin (diacetylmorphine) was introduced as a substitute for morphine, and trademarked and marketed by Bayer from 1898 to 1910 as a cough suppressant and treatment for pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Bayer registered the trademark ‘Aspirin’ for their acetylsalicylic acid brand in 1899. Approximately 40,000 tons of aspirin are produced each year and 10–20 billion tablets consumed in the US alone.
Bayer was one of six companies in 1925 that merged into IG Farben, the world’s largest chemical and pharmaceutical company at that time. IG Farben was Hitler’s industrial arm.
The Cold War started after WWII and the intensive post-war reconstruction of West– Germany was a strategic move against communist Soviet Union.
Germany benefitted from the Marshall plan and joined the European Coal and Steel community (the predecessor of the European Union) in this context.
Bayer played a key role in the post-war reconstruction of West-Germany.
In 1957, Bayer invents polycarbonate and markets it under brand name Makrolon.
Makrolon will revolutionise kitchen utensils such as plates, cups, dishes and bowls made of this shatterproof plastic.
In the 1980s, Makrolon® is used for audio CDs and is still used today as the base material for all optical storage media.
In the 1960s, Bayer revolutionises freezers and fridges with solid polyurethane foam (Baydur®).
In 1967, Bayer proves that a car can be completely made of plastic (Bayer K67). Only the engine, gearbox and wheels are fully or partly made of metal.
In 1990, Bayer buys Polysar Rubber Corporation and becomes the world’s biggest raw materials supplier for the rubber industry. Historically, Bayer has been at the forefront of synthesising rubber.
In 2000, Bayer buys part of Lyondell Chemical Company and becomes one of the biggest producer of raw materials for polyurethanes.
In 2001, the company builds a huge plant in China to produce foams and coatings.
In 2003, Bayer AG was reorganized into a holding company and divided into sub entities: Bayer CropScience AG; Bayer HealthCare AG; Bayer MaterialScience AG, Bayer Chemicals AG, Bayer Technology Services GmbH, Bayer Business Services GmbH and Bayer Industry Services GmbH & Co. OHG.
In September 2015, Bayer MaterialScience becomes a separate entity operating under the name ‘Covestro’ and listed on the stock market.
Covestro is headquartered in Leverkusen (Germany) and has around 17.000 employees with revenues of $16 Billions in 2018.
In 2016, Covestro opened a plant that uses carbon dioxide as raw material for plastics. It’s the first of its kind and a real scientific breakthrough. The first application will be mattresses.
In 2017, Covestro produced aniline from biomass at lab scale.
In 2019, Covestro started a long term partnership with Genomatica to produce chemicals from plant based feedstock. This should become an alliance of champions.