We are keenly aware that while pursuing a growth agenda we must continue to carefully manage our balance sheet and cash position. This means we must ensure that we:
- Carefully prioritize and control investment, both in terms of fixed assets and acquisitions
- Control our absolute operating working capital growth, so that as we grow, the ratio of operating working capital to revenue continues to drop
- Provide a stable to growing dividend
- Examine all opportunities for improvement in “other” items, such as pensions and legacies.
In 2010, we had a good year in terms of cash management. Specifically, we completed our €275 million Ningbo investment on time and on budget, while still generating significant operating cash flow in our Specialty Chemicals business. We continued to improve our operating working capital management by developing a best practices toolkit. In addition, we sold our National Starch business for $1.3 billion, providing us with significant financial headroom going forward. Finally, we clarified our position with regard to dividends.