In € millions
The year was largely dominated by accelerated transformation and consolidation following AkzoNobel’s acquisition of ICI in January 2008. The integration progressed according to plan and ensured that significant synergies were quickly identified throughout the Americas region. The challenging economic climate created a difficult marketplace, but careful management of costs continued to drive the business forward.
Protecting margins against the negative effects of the steep and sudden devaluation of the local currency was a priority in Latin America, where reduction of operational working capital was also high on the agenda. An additional focus was placed on creating a leaner organization more capable of capturing the synergies of the ICI acquisition.
In the United States, a restructuring program was introduced to improve productivity and manage costs. This included creating a leaner customer service-focused sales organization structure to more effectively support The Home Depot, our key distributor of the Glidden brand in the US. The supply chain was optimized by increasing output at underutilized modern manufacturing facilities, while outdated and inefficient facilities were closed. Much of the attention in Canada was on brand and asset rationalization, reorganization and establishing a new sales and marketing structure.