“We continued to focus on the key elements of our strategy and once again we achieved a very high customer retention rate.”
Growth in most of our market segments and regions began to turn positive towards the end of 2009 and that continued during 2010. This led to a robust recovery and strong revenue performance across our business, with volumes almost returning to pre-recessionary levels.
The work that we did during the recession to retain customers really paid off. We continued to focus on the key elements of our strategy – improving our distribution footprint, advancing the use of color technology, strengthening our brands, building our pipeline of innovative products and solutions – and once again we achieved a very high customer retention rate, which we think is the best in class. So we were well positioned in the market both from a geographic and segment perspective. Consequently, we came out of the recession even stronger than we went into it. Turkey, Brazil and Russia bounced back, our Asian activities are growing at twice the rate of the rest of the business, we steadily outperformed the market in North America and our position in the premium segment in Eastern Europe is growing. Western Europe was essentially steady, with volume up on a flat market. Our Automotive Plastics business benefited from a combination of restructuring and robust volume increase on the strength of our new business model.
Our Process Centered Environment solution, which we believe is the most sustainable way to run a bodyshop, continued its success and has really caught on in China, India and Asia, having proved its value in North America. It helps us to attract new customers and ensures we don’t lose any customers. We also entered the trade segment in North America with our Wanda brand (which was previously only available in Latin America) and further sharpened our focus on the mid-market by acquiring Changzhou Prime Automotive Paint Co., Ltd in China. In Aerospace – which we took over from Marine and Protective Coatings at the beginning of the year – we won a number of contracts with Airbus and have several technology approvals pushing the business ahead, primarily basecoat/clearcoat systems for aircraft refinishing.
We secured a number of exciting new contracts during 2010, including an exclusive deal with General Motors in Brazil and a partnership with Sterling, one of the largest collision repairers in the US. We are also supplying Volkswagen and GM in Shanghai. Our stickerfix easy repair system clinched its first two approvals from key auto makers, and we began the introduction of our Wanda waterborne basecoat into the trade segment in North America – our first entrance into this particular market with this type of product. Elsewhere, our focus on eco-efficiency and our drive to reduce VOCs continued to receive a lot of attention. We rolled out our sustainability strategy for the business (based on the three pillars of marketing, operations and people), and towards the end of the year we changed the name of our business to Automotive and Aerospace Coatings to better reflect the composition of our global activities.
Revenue in € millions
Geo-mix revenue by destination in %