A massive – and successful – task across our global markets was ensuring our customers’ production lines kept running while resolving huge challenges with raw materials, freight and shipping. Our customers experienced high demand due to an initial post-COVID-19 surge, notably in commercial construction and home refurbishment. The continued trend towards endlessly recyclable aluminum cans also played its part in the upturn. A major feature of the year was the rise in the cost of raw materials and the corrective price actions required to ensure we could continue to provide excellent service and value. Product, service and technology breakthroughs continued at pace, as did our investment in supply and manufacturing infrastructure.
Strong revenue and volume growth across all our market segments, allied with extraordinary supply challenges, meant we had to fully focus on keeping customers’ lines running, while recovering raw material cost surges.Simon ParkerDirector of Industrial Coatings
We introduced a new range of chromate-free primers to help Chinese steel companies comply with regulatory changes restricting the use of chrome pigments commonly found in traditional high-performance primers. Our COILTEC CF primer range will provide greater reassurance and continuity for steel companies in China and across Asia, while maintaining the highest levels of product performance. The new range is the latest in a long line of sustainable solutions and environmentally focused innovations from AkzoNobel developed for the building products industry.
Other key developments
- Introduced a full portfolio of products for the ends of beverage cans in Asia, which quickly helped us win more business. The portfolio includes our industry-leading Vitalac 820 beverage can ends external technology, and our newly launched beverage ends internal technology to capture more of the Asian metal packaging market
- Converted AkzoNobel’s 2022 Color of the Year, Bright Skies, into a color palette that brings current color trends to our wood coatings customers
- Our GripPro Heat A020/H020 adhesive for manufacturers of laminated structural beams was launched to reduce workplace and final product formaldehyde emissions, while maintaining seasonal productivity
- Launched scratch and stain resistant technology for luxury vinyl tiles, which increases efficiency and productivity for flooring manufacturers, while maintaining the desired appearance
- Introduced a new e-commerce platform for our distribution businesses to enhance the customer experience and provide 24/7 access to online ordering, tracking and all relevant information
- New digital tools for our TRINAR coil coating products were introduced, which are designed to make them more accessible to architects and specifiers
- Several landmark buildings are being constructed using our products, including One Chicago Tower in the US, Merdeka 118 in Malaysia and the Toranomon-Azabudai Project in Japan
- Enhanced our social media platforms to strengthen brand presence and drive engagement with partners, customers and end-users around the world
High Point upgrade signals growth intent
A €50 million investment in our North American Wood Coatings site in High Point, North Carolina, was completed in 2021.
The extensive upgrade included installing state-of-the-art production technology, along with building a new raw materials warehouse, research lab and technical application center. As well as making production more flexible and efficient, it will further strengthen our market position and enable us to better serve our wood coatings customers and partners in the region.
“This investment clearly signals our intentions,” said AkzoNobel CEO, Thierry Vanlancker. “We’re looking to accelerate our growth in the region and High Point has a vital role to play as we continue to build and expand market positions across our wood coatings portfolio.”
Known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World”, High Point has been home to AkzoNobel’s US wood coatings activities since 1955. Covering 37 acres, it produces a wide range of products to serve the furniture, flooring and building products market segments, as well as the company’s Chemcraft distributors.