“We grew the business in Asia more than 10 percent compared with the previous year”
It was a good year in terms of revenue and profit generation, despite overall volumes being down. Conditions in Europe were challenging and raw material prices continued to have an impact, but a sharper focus on our target market segments ensured that we almost reached the revenue landmark of one billion euros.
We grew the business in Asia – more than 10 percent compared with the previous year – and gained market share. We also achieved double digit growth rates in Turkey, Russia, Egypt and India, while volumes and revenue increased in the US. Europe, as expected, was somewhat weaker than 2011 (notably in the appliance and furniture markets), but overall we grew in line with the global market. The biggest growth in segment terms came in automotive components, due mainly to the general uptake in the industry, notably in China and the US. Europe was also doing well until the second half of the year, when it started to struggle. Architectural was another solid segment with good growth, while our functional sales were strong, especially interior pipe coatings. It was a slower year in the appliance sector, partly because we made strategic moves to focus more on customers where we can add value. This was also the first full year that we were able to reap the synergies from the 2010 acquisition of the powder business of Rohm & Haas, which has significantly contributed to us almost doubling our revenue in the last three years.
In order to support our growth strategy we bought out our joint ventures in South Africa and Dubai. We also authorized the construction of a new factory in Dubai, which should be ready at the end of 2013. In Italy, we streamlined our operations by switching production from Cernobbio to the more modern facilities in Como, where capacity will be increased and we will achieve cost and resource efficiency benefits. We also plan to expand the R&D facility there and create a European Powder Technology Center. Another highlight was the opening of a powder coating line at Tata’s new factory in Dharwad, India. The plant has already produced more than 1,000 powder coated vehicles. We now have two powder coating lines at Tata plants for coating their Ace, Ace Zip and Iris vehicles. In addition, we opened the first dedicated Cromadex center in Ireland, which will serve industrial coatings customers in the region, while in China we signed an agreement with XingFa – one of the country’s top five aluminum extrusion companies – to supply their factories in Chengdu, Yichun and Sangshui.
Having launched our approach to the market for coatings for agricultural, construction and earthmoving equipment (ACE) during the last 12 months, 2012 saw us pick up several major approvals, including four for Caterpillar in Europe and our first with Japanese construction and mining equipment giant Komatsu. We now have a dedicated global product range for the entire agricultural, construction and earthmoving equipment sector, which is a huge market and is steadily moving towards powder for cost and sustainability reasons. Our coatings were also used on the athletes’ village and several stadia at the London Olympics, as well as on the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, which was inaugurated in London in July. We also launched Interpon D2000 Brilliance, a super-durable, bright sparkling metallic powder coating for architecture, and Interpon HT, a range of heat resistance products for use on items such as barbecues and stoves.
Geo-mix revenue by destination