“Conditions were difficult, but our results were very close to the previous year”
It was a year of mixed performance, dominated by the economic climate and unprecedented raw material price rises. Some of our key market sectors experienced very difficult business conditions, which put pressure on volume and margins. But we worked hard to tackle the financial headwinds and achieved a 2011 result very close to the previous year.
Our three main businesses had contrasting fortunes. It was an excellent year for Protective Coatings, with strong growth being achieved – notably in the oil and gas sector – while a number of high profile contracts were also secured. In Yacht, a strong performer over many years, the economic downturn had a negative impact, but the business put in a very good bottom line performance, even though there was a clear fall off in orders for new boats. Our Marine activities endured the most testing conditions, confirming the downward cycle in the industry. Over-capacity, combined with a drop in newbuilds, had a major impact, although the increased size of the fleet meant there were opportunities in maintenance and repair, an area we will continue to concentrate on. From a regional perspective, we performed very well in the US and benefited from a renewed focus on Latin America, while the dominance of the marine industry in Asia meant the business climate in that part of the world was difficult.
In June we opened a new testing laboratory for fire protection products at our Felling site in the UK. It’s part of a major investment by our business in research, development and innovation at the location which has turned Felling into AkzoNobel’s biggest research center in the world. We also started supplying protective coatings for both the $40 billion Gorgon gas project off the north west coast of Australia, and the London Array in the UK, a 1,000-megawatt wind farm in the Thames Estuary which is expected to become the world’s largest offshore wind facility when it is completed in 2012. Another highlight was a partnership we formed with ship monitoring firm BMT ARGOSS which could play a major role in improving the operational efficiency of the global shipping fleet. It involves using advanced measuring systems to monitor the performance of vessels using our fouling control coatings. The data obtained will provide complete transparency and evidence to owners and operators of the performance improvements our advanced hull coatings technology can deliver. In addition, we completed the supply of coatings to four of the stadia that will be used for the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer championship in Poland and Ukraine.
We achieved the 12,000th application of our Intershield 300 anti-corrosion coating, which was joined in our market-leading portfolio by Interline 9001, a new bimodal epoxy for chemical tankers which simplifies the carriage of a wide range of liquid cargoes, optimizing vessel earning potential and bringing significant financial benefits to owners. Our Korean business celebrated coating its 2,000th newbuild vessel, and we also played a role in India’s first Formula 1™ Grand Prix race in October, having supplied protective coatings for the grandstand at the Buddh International Circuit. Another important contract secured during 2011 involved supplying high performance protective coatings for the Chenab Bridge – the world’s highest arch bridge – which will be part of a new railway line linking the Kashmir region with the rest of India.
Revenue in € millions
Geo-mix revenue by destination in %