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Surface Chemistry

Demand recovered to near pre-recessionary levels. The agriculture, mining and industrial applications experienced strong demand, while the consumer-related segments (such as personal care, fabric softening and cleaning) grew to a lesser extent (as they were less impacted by the recession). All regions recorded growth and the improved market demand appears to be more sustainable than inventory restocking. Overall revenue increased by 15 percent, driven by double-digit volume growth (of 21 percent), but was offset by a decline in price. Favorable currency development supported the overall revenue increase.

Raw material costs are trending upward, driven by higher oil prices and tight supply on certain key materials, but have had limited effect due to margin management. The business strictly controlled fixed costs, thus the incremental margin was passed on to the bottom line performance.

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