PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Bayer, the German company that became one of Pittsburgh’s business icons, is splitting up.

Over the next year to 18 months, Bayer will sell off its material science division with its USA headquarters in Pittsburgh, while keeping its better known health, life and sciences division under the Bayer name with its USA headquarters in New Jersey.

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Local Bayer officials would not appear on camera.

“Bayer is a huge presence in this area,” says Bernadette Puzzuole, president of the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce.

“As you drive by the area, you see their aspirin sign up on the hillside and it reminds everybody of their presence in Pittsburgh for over 50 years,” Puzzuole told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

The main campus in Robinson employs about 1,200 people in material science work; while another 1,000 people work nearby in life sciences in what was formerly Medrad.

Company officials in Germany said, despite the split, there were no plans to lay off any workers at this time.

So what does Bayer Material Science make?

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How about those everyday products in your home — products made with plastics like smartphones, televisions and laptops.

And here’s something pretty cool — how about the soccer ball played in the World Cup. It, too, is full of Bayer material.

Bayer’s polymers are also found in automobiles, mattresses, insulations and coatings.

Bayer says it will sell this division and focus on its health component, leaving a different company operating in Pittsburgh under a different name.

As for the Bayer name?

“It could disappear,” says the Chamber’s Puzzuole. “The aspirin sign may come down and we may have a different sign up there. We don’t know what is going to happen with that. The name isn’t as important as the jobs.”

Jobs, which for the time being the company says, are staying put.

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