The Red Days of Nanjing
The construction work at the Verbund site in Nanjing was provisionally completed at the end of 2004: All large-scale chemical plants were mechanically finished before the end of the year.
At the end of September 2005, the employees, customers, business associates and hundreds of guests from the political, cultural and social sectors were presented with an offer unlike anything ever seen before in BASF’s 140-year history. The opening of the Chinese Verbund site was celebrated with a full two-day program.
Symbolizing good luck, the color red is ubiquitous in China. Wednesday, September 28, 2005, was clearly a red day in Nanjing: A red carpet led the numerous guests of the opening celebrations into the red party tent where they sat on red upholstered chairs at tables with red cloths and looked at the stage, behind which rose a red wall with bronze fittings. Red was the color of the hot-air balloons, from which hung red banners stating “Opening Ceremony of BASF-YPC Company."
That same year, BASF also initiated the acquisition of the North American specialty chemicals manufacturer Engelhard, which had profitable facilities for the production of automotive catalytic converters in China. The acquisition was part of several takeovers with which BASF had started in 2005. For several billion euros, it had acquired such companies as the electro-chemicals business from Merck, the North American resin manufacturer Johnson Polymer and the construction chemicals business from Degussa.
Each of these acquisitions also increased the volume of business in China – even if this was not the primary goal of the takeovers. The major acquisitions of the coming years would also have an impact on the business in China.