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Surface Chemistry

The performance of our Surface Chemistry business reached a new level in 2010. Regionally, the significant performance improvement was led by the business in the Americas. Demand in the personal care, agricultural, mining and other performance application segments improved sharply from the lowest point in 2009. Volume increased 12 percent, driven by the improved end-use demand and excellent progress on strategic market initiatives. Increased volume, margin management and cost containment resulted in a notable improvement in performance during the year.

Revenue in Q4 was 12 percent higher than the previous year, driven by currency effects. Q4 of the previous year was a strong comparative, when the economic recovery and inventory restocking resulted in revenue above structural demand. Demand in some markets slowed down in Q4, while oilfield, mining and organoclay experienced strong growth. Raw material prices continued to increase during the quarter and are now at 2008 peak levels. Strong cost control and active margin management helped to maintain our bottom line.

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