AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry

“Sales volumes were up significantly, revenue rose 20 percent and progress was also made in implementing our growth strategy.”


The demand recovery which began in mid-2009 continued throughout 2010, particularly in the personal care, mining and oilfield market segments. Sales volumes were up significantly over the previous year, although not back to the 2008 peak. Revenue rose 20 percent, driven by increased volume, better product/market mix, escalating raw material prices and currency impact. Significant progress was also made in implementing our growth strategy based on new product introductions, expansion in developing regions, exploring adjacent growth opportunities and disciplined cost control.


The consumer market segments (fabric, home and personal care) were not significantly impacted by the recession and continued to grow in 2010, including some share gains. Our sales to the mining market experienced significant recovery, notably in potash and iron ore. Despite the moratorium on deep well drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, oilfield chemical demand was also strong, driven by growing chemical additive demand for land-based natural gas drilling and well fracturing. The asphalt road paving market was affected by raw material shortages, weak construction markets and the disappointing impact from government stimulus spending. Additive demand grew considerably in the organoclay market. The agrochemical value chain worked through an inventory overhang from 2009, although favorable weather conditions resulted in good growth in both North and Latin America. Fabric care sales also experienced strong growth in Latin America. Asia continued to achieve double digit growth supported by new products for the asphalt, oilfield and animal feed additives markets. We are developing products for the local mid-tier market by introducing eco-premium, cost-effective products that are unique to Asia. In Europe, the recovery generally trailed behind the other regions. Demand slowed down in most regions during the fourth quarter as customers drew down inventories and consumers became more conservative. Raw material prices remain volatile and in some cases have escalated back to 2008 peaks. Our production was curtailed during the first half year due to some supplier force majeure declarations.


We are starting to demonstrate the synergies across our three technology platforms – surfactants, synthetic polymers and biopolymers. Sustainability remains the key driver. In fact, 45 percent of our current sales and 80 percent of our innovation pipeline are based on products that provide eco-premium solutions to our customers. We continue to reduce VOC emissions and solid wastes from our operations and are implementing several energy efficiency projects. Finally, a sales excellence program has been introduced to improve our ability to determine customers’ unmet needs and capture value from innovation.


New product introductions picked up throughout the year in tandem with customer interest to reformulate or increase their process efficiency. New launches included Adsee 766, a nonylphenol ethoxylate-free agrochemical adjuvant; DynamX H20, a biopolymer ingredient for styling hair products; Armocare G113 and G114, hair conditioning based on renewable guar; and a number of new Agrilan agrochemical dispersants based on renewable feedstocks. We are also introducing hybrid polymers based on renewable monomers to several market segments, providing better eco properties and high performance.

Frank Sherman, Managing Director – Surface Chemistry (photo)

Frank Sherman
Managing Director


Revenue in € millions

Surface Chemistry – Revenue in € millions (bar chart)

Geo-mix revenue by destination in %

Surface Chemistry – Geo-mix revenue by destination in % (pie chart)

Main products

  • Surfactants
  • Synthetic and natural specialty polymers

Key markets

  • Agriculture
  • Asphalt
  • Personal care
  • Oilfield chemicals
  • Coating additives
  • Fabric softeners
  • Household cleaning
  • Mining

Key brands


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