LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany -- BASF AG announced a reorganization of the company’s Industrial Coatings business unit in moves aimed at strengthening the unit’s focus on major individual markets.

The reorganization will include actions designed to “capitalize on the company’s strong position in the automotive sector,” restructure business operations, and consolidate production.

The Industrial Coatings unit accounted for about 20% of BASF’s global Coatings division sales in 2002.The unit’s products are used in a range of applications and industries, including automotive components, commercial vehicles, household appliances, furniture, and construction.

The unit will be reorganized into:

    The Precoatings area (coil coatings and foil), where the company will seek to further increase its market share in Europe and NAFTA and establish a “strong supplier position” in China;

    Metal Coatings, where the company will work to strengthen its core competencies in the automotive and transportation markets;

    Powder Coatings, where the company will concentrate its activities at the Verbania site in Italy by Jan. 1, 2004, and discontinue product development and manufacturing of powder coatings in M¿nster-Hiltrup, Germany; and;

    Wood Coatings, which will be organized into three new entities as of December 31 -- Glasurit Construction, encompassing window coatings and radiation-cure coatings; Furniture Coatings, based in Romano d’Ezzelino, Italy, and including all wood coatings for furniture; and the Specialty/ Automotive Dashboard business, which will be integrated into the Automotive OEM business unit.