“Our record results were driven by the optimization of our product portfolio, margin management and tight control on costs”
We achieved record results for the third year in a row, driven mainly by the optimization of our product portfolio, margin management and sales into relatively strong markets. The integration of the Boxing Oleochemicals business, acquired in 2012, helped grow our business and improved the geographic diversity of our sales. Volumes remained more or less flat, raw material price increases were not as severe as in 2011 and we were able to keep tight control on costs, all of which contributed to our overall financial performance.
North America was our strongest and steadiest market, while Europe held up well given the economic turmoil. In Latin America and Asia, underlying conditions were not as vibrant as in recent years, although there remained many opportunities for our technologies. From a business perspective, we achieved strong sales in agrochemicals, oilfield chemicals, mining and asphalt, while our home and personal care activities were less robust. Asphalt benefited from the US Congress passing a new highway funding bill, which sustained current levels of funding for the construction and repair of highways, bridges and other transportation projects across the US. Mining started out slow, but picked up and delivered a good year, while oil and gas moderated somewhat after growing for most of 2012. Essentially, all our market segments were either stable or improved on 2011.
In Europe, we reorganized our management team and streamlined the business, which had a positive impact on our performance. We also integrated the Personal Care business into our regional sub-business units globally. Early in the year, we focused on integrating the Boxing Oleochemicals activities, including a significant manufacturing base in Shandong Province. This acquisition will allow us to help local customers enhance and differentiate their products. Another key highlight was our safety performance. All 13 of our plants performed well and we ended the year favorably below corporate ambitions in terms of total reportable rate of injuries.
Our Rediset LQ liquid asphalt warm-mix additive was used to pave five new taxiways at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The taxiways are an integral part of the O’Hare Modernization Program, one of the largest infrastructure rehabilitation and construction projects in the US, at one of the world’s largest and busiest airports. We also worked together with AkzoNobel Marine and Protective Coatings to develop a new advanced antifouling product for ships. There were some interesting developments in the US and Asia with the sustainable chemistry we acquired from Integrated Botanical Technologies in 2011. One particularly notable product launch was Armovis EHS, a readily biodegradable, high temperature surfactant for the oilfield market which can be used in a diverse range of applications, including acidizing, fracturing and completion brine systems.
Geo-mix revenue by destination
Key product lines