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Bayer Investing $156 Million In Brazil

German pharmaceutical and chemical company to invest $156 million through the end of 2009 in its Brazilian operations, which it says is a key market.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Bayer AG said Monday it would invest $156 million through the end of 2009 in its Brazilian operations, a key market for the German pharmaceutical and chemical company.

Of the 100 million euros slated for investment, Bayer said that it would put 40 million euros ($62 million) into its Belford Roxo plant, near Rio de Janeiro, for modernization and upgrading of facilities for plastic-related and crop protection products. It would also improve infrastructure at the site.

Bayer will also invest 60 million euros ($93 million) at other company sites in Brazil.

"Brazil is our biggest market in Latin America, and we want to further expand our position in this growth region," said Werner Wenning, the company's chief executive, speaking at a ceremony marking the Belford Roxo plant's 50th anniversary.

In 2007 Bayer notched sales of 3.2 billion euros ($5 billion) in Latin America, with Brazil contributing more than a third, making the country one of Leverkusen-based Bayer's top 10 markets worldwide.

"The size of this investment underscores our commitment and is meant as a clear vote of confidence in Brazil," Wenning said.

Shares of Bayer closed up 1.8 percent at 51.60 euros ($80.50) in Frankfurt trading.

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