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Product innovation

During 2008, we made solid progress in the development and marketing of sustainable technologies. We launched our Verde range of eco-efficient wood coatings in the US and Canada, while in Europe we introduced new bio-renewable adhesives for fabricated wood products. We also launched a range of high durability coil coating systems for use in equatorial climates, where higher UV degradation can be a particular problem. Another important development was the introduction of our nano-based, highly scratch-resistant coatings for plastics. Everything we do is focused on helping our customers achieve success, so innovation is crucial. With the marketplace now being driven by major customers who realize the inherent value of being more environmentally responsible, we are fully committed to developing the sustainable technologies they need.

Strategic growth

In September, we announced the acquisition of the global floor coatings business of Lord Corporation in the US. We also worked on a number of strategic projects during the year to enhance our position in emerging markets. Even though we had to control spending, we continued to position ourselves for sustainable long-term growth. We are busy with projects in India, Vietnam and Russia, while in China, we finalized the expansion of a dedicated Specialty Plastics production facility in Tianjin to satisfy the explosive growth in the consumer electronics market.

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