The company introduced a series of innovative new products, advanced its digital agenda and made important steps with regard to sustainability.
"Our commitment to delivering essential ingredients, essential protection and essential color ensured we made progress towards our vision of leading market positions delivering leading performance. Our track record of performance improvement continued – 2016 was again a record year for us in terms of return on investment and return on sales – driven by our focus on growth, operational excellence and continuous improvement," said Ton Büchner, CEO and chairman of the board of management and executive committee, AkzoNobel.
The company now has a stronger operational and financial foundation for adapting to market challenges and seizing growth opportunities, evidenced by its €425 million acquisition of BASF’s Industrial Coatings business. The transaction included relevant technologies, patents and trademarks, as well as two manufacturing plants in the UK and South Africa and around 350 employees.
AkzoNobel also strengthened its position in the North American hydrogen peroxide market by fully acquiring the shares of its joint venture partner OCI Peroxy LLC, to support its drive for growth.
Market conditions remained challenging and the company continued to face an uncertain and volatile economic environment. However, its agility enabled it to adapt and respond. It also delivered performance records in terms of EBIT and operational cash flow, according to him.
"A further increase in our dividend, and the launch of a share buyback program to neutralise the 2016 stock dividends paid, indicate confidence in our cash flow generation. We are better placed to accelerate growth and deal with challenges in our markets," added Büchner. (KD)
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