Improving people’s quality of life by preventing, alleviating, or curing diseases and helping to provide an adequate supply of high-quality food, feed, and renewable plant-based raw materials, is at the core of this multinational.
Bayer ended off a turbulent 2020 by celebrating 100 years in South Africa, a century in which their operations across agriculture, pharmaceutical and consumer health have grown substantially.
This Life Science Company, today with core competencies in the fields of healthcare and agriculture, boasts a long history in South Africa dating back to 1920 when Taeuber & Corssen (Pty) Ltd were appointed as agents of the then German chemical company, Bayer AG.
Following an evolutionary process spanning more than half a century, Bayer in South Africa formally came into existence in 1993, consolidating its activities locally across the industrial/chemical, agricultural, healthcare, and consumer fields. Bayer Pty. Ltd. was itself established in 1954.
Fast forward 100 years and Bayer is a key player in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies, developing new molecules for use in innovative products and solutions to improve the health of humans and plants.
Innovative crop protection and seeds through its Crop Science Business, as well as its Pharmaceutical and Consumer Health divisions, make up the three South African business units within Bayer South Africa.
In 2002, Crop Science was launched as the first legally independent Bayer subgroup and has been providing crop protection products, seeds, traits, and pioneering environmental solutions ever since.
This South African operation leads the market sales across all three business units on the continent and plays a vital role in facilitating Bayer’s expansion into the Southern African region.
“To be most effective, we focus our efforts on areas where our business has the greatest impact and where our efforts can have the greatest benefit,” says Klaus Eckstein CEO Bayer South Africa.
He says that along with the many challenges posed to the business over the last year, specifically with serious disruptions in the supply chain within their Pharma division, 2020 also provided a great opportunity, with an increase in sales within their extensive portfolio of vitamins and the immune-strengthening brands such as Calcivita and Berocca.
Globally, Bayer delivered a robust performance last year despite the pandemic, with group sales totalling €41.4 billion.
Klaus says that despite staff working from home and only interacting with customers digitally, Bayer South Africa succeeded in continuing to deliver as a team, as a business, and as a supply chain and maintained productivity during the tough lockdown months. “Maintaining business continuity was a fundament to that change,” he says.
Bayer in South Africa is headquartered in Isando, Gauteng and with 12 locations, key of which include a crop protection production site in Nigel, corn seed production sites in Brits and Thobontle (Lichtenburg) and vegetable seed production close to Oudtshoorn as well as regional office sites in Paarl, Port Elizabeth, and Durban.
Bayer’s global outlook for the next years remains positive with solid operational growth and stable earnings.
With 598 employees across South Africa, Klaus says that the company is continuing to build and expand to create value through innovation, sustainability and CSE.