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Main developments

In Canada, the company’s Para and Crown Diamond businesses were sold to General Paint Corp. (Comex) in line with the commitment package agreed with the authorities in connection with AkzoNobel’s acquisition of ICI. Two redundant production facilities in Toronto and Vancouver were shut down, while the Sico Expert direct trade sales business in the Greater Toronto area ceased activities. The Mills Paint and ICI Paints businesses were merged into one strong entity in Western Canada, and an agreement was reached for the sale of the manufacturing and commercial activities of Sico General Industry Coatings. New facilities included a centralized distribution center for Quebec which was opened in the Montreal area.

The launch of The Freshaire Choice paint range was a major highlight in the US. Rolled out in 1,900 branches of The Home Depot, the product is VOC-free and its powdered colorant system proved to be a technological breakthrough for the paint industry. It had an immediate impact on consumers in a depressed market and reached its targeted shipment volume for the first year.

One of the main launches in Latin America involved the introduction of Coralit Zero. This is a water-based enamel which can be used as an alternative to the solvent-borne version, the advantage being that it has the same quality attributes yet produces no VOCs.

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