In October we acquired Enviroline from Florida-based Industrial Environmental Coatings Corporation. The business has a number of interesting market positions and technologies for the protective coatings sector and we will be able to expand our sales of these products and technologies through our global network. Also, following the acquisition of ICI, our team has been working to determine a strategy for the Devoe brand, which has an important position in the US and Canadian markets and smaller positions elsewhere in the world.
In August we officially opened our new Protective Coatings site in Suzhou, China – with the next two phases of expansion already being planned – and we are investing in infrastructure in Bangalore, India, in advance of our next capacity expansion for that market.
Another significant development involved our next generation Intersleek 900 foul release coating. Following its launch in early 2007, the product was used on its 100th vessel – K Line’s Corona Emblem – in May 2008. We expect to pass the 200-ship landmark in early 2009. This eco-efficient product was introduced so that our marine customers could reduce fuel consumption at speeds of eight knots and above. We have heard of some spectacular successes and it shows how committed our most progressive customers are to taking strong action against climate change.
An additional achievement we were particularly proud of was winning a supplier award from one of our aerospace customers. We were recognized for our excellent service and received a rating of more than 99 percent.
During the year our products were also used on a number of venues at the Beijing Olympics, in particular the Water Cube, while we have supplied coatings for all but one of the soccer stadiums for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In addition, we have a number of major projects in the pipeline and hope to announce details during the course of 2009. So despite the challenging economic climate, these are exciting times.