“We are more focused on the global needs of our customers”
We had an outstanding year, helped by the fact that we organized the business into three distinct global market segments (Marine, Protective Coatings and Yacht). By aligning ourselves in this way, we are more focused on the global needs of our customers and better equipped to anticipate the different dynamics so that we can accelerate in sectors where we see opportunities. The reorganization resulted in a significant reduction in operating expenses.
Most of the growth we achieved was generated by our Protective Coatings activities. The oil and gas sector was particularly strong throughout the year, due to the high level of investment being made by the major players all over the world. There was also significant demand for our Chartek fire protection coatings. Our Marine business had to cope with very difficult market conditions brought about by a dramatic decline in ship new builds, but that was offset by growth in other sectors. In Yacht, the economic recession impacted our volumes. As a result of our new global organization, we were able to generate efficiencies in manufacturing, RD&I and procurement, which in turn helped us to take a significant step forward.
The performance of our Chartek range of fire protection coatings was particularly impressive as it built up considerable momentum in the marketplace. Specifically formulated to protect structural steel elements from hydrocarbon fire exposure, it is used extensively in the oil and gas industry and for high value infrastructure projects. In fact, demand has been so great that we are expanding production. Also notable was a cross-business cooperation we had with AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry. Teams of scientists worked together on developing patented technologies for a revolutionary new antifouling, which is close to being launched. We are by far the world leader in developing and supplying fouling control technology and this will be a further addition to what is already the broadest portfolio available on the market. On an organizational level, we confirmed the three HQs of our global business operations as the UK for Protective Coatings, Houston in Texas for Yacht and Singapore for Marine.
We began supplying products for Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas facility off the north west coast of Western Australia, which will be the world’s largest floating LNG platform. Other major landmarks coated with our products included the Shanghai Tower – which will be the tallest building in China when completed – as well as various venues used at the 2012 Olympic Games. During the year we also made good progress in terms of safety, beating the corporate ambition level for total reportable rate of injuries. This was particularly pleasing given the attention we have paid to raising awareness and improving our all-round HSE performance.
Geo-mix revenue by destination