We continued to introduce new products throughout the year, including the Naviance certified organic biopolymer product range for the personal care market. These aesthetic modifiers add a smooth and elegant feel to skin creams and lotions. We launched a new asphalt additive, Rediset WMX, which enables hot mix road paving at lower temperatures, thereby reducing VOC emissions and energy consumption. Another exciting development was the establishment of a partnership with Integrated Botanical Technologies on their proprietary technology to isolate plant fractions for use as ingredients in cosmetics. This process avoids drying and solvent treatment, yielding higher purity extracts. We have created a lot of interest in the marketplace in what we hope will become a whole new product line.
Surface Chemistry’s employees are passionate about growing our customers’ businesses with innovative and sustainable solutions. So as we move from restructuring and integration to growth, we have outlined four major initiatives for 2009. We will start with a strategic renewal process to realize synergies from our broader product portfolio. We will concurrently review our innovation processes to make them faster and more targeted to our customers’ needs. We have already started this effort by appointing Innovation Managers to each business team. We will also look outside the company to introduce new technologies to our customers via licenses, alliances or bolt-on acquisitions. Finally, we intend to better capture the value we create by introducing a global sales excellence program. We believe these strategic initiatives, along with a continued focus on operational excellence, will enable us to weather the uncertain economic climate we are now facing.