Through its Paints segment Valspar offers a wide variety of products such as paints, primers, topcoats and aerosol spray paints sold primarily through retailers and distribution networks. It sells branded and other products in the Paints segment, including Valspar, Cabot, Huarun, DeBeer and House of Kolor. This segment includes architectural and automotive refinish product lines.
The Coatings segment includes a broad range of decorative and protective coatings for metal, wood and plastic, primarily for sale to original equipment manufacturing (OEM) customers. Products within the Coatings segment include primers, top coats, varnishes, inks, sprays, stains, fillers and other coatings used by customers in a wide range of manufacturing industries, including building products, appliances, furniture, transportation, agricultural and construction equipment, metal packaging and metal fabrication.
During the year, Valspar continued to invest in strategic acquisitions to improve the geographic diversity of its portfolio and further extend its business in fast-growing coatings markets. In June, the firm completed a transaction with DIC Corporation of Japan that included the purchase of a manufacturing site and business entity in Bangalore, India. This strategic acquisition provides them with an immediate platform for growth in an emerging market for packaging and other coatings.
In September, Valspar completed the acquisition of Wattyl Limited, a market-leading paint manufacturer in Australia for approximately $125 million. With reputable brands, high-quality products and broad distribution across DIY, hardware and retail channels throughout Australia and New Zealand, this acquisition further strengthens the global Consumer paint portfolio and builds on Valspar’s increasing presence in the Asia Pacific region. Under the deal, Wattyl, which began operations in 1915 and owns the Wattyl Solagard and Estapol brands, handed over its 30 percent share of the domestic paints market to Valspar.
Valspar’s worldwide presence continues to expand. In 2010, sales in the U.S. increased 7.4 percent. Sales in markets outside of the U.S. increased nearly 20 percent and with the addition of Wattyl will account for nearly 45 percent of total company revenues. Valspar’s businesses in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe/Middle East/Africa/India all delivered double-digit sales increases for the year.
During the year, Valspar expanded its automotive refinish product platform to include a comprehensive line—from primer to clear coat—of low VOC solvent-based paint products that meet the most current U.S. standards for low VOCs, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The Valspar Low VOC System features the company’s signature Clean Air formulation with significantly reduced VOCs. This system allows auto body shops to switch to a solvent-based option with an improved environmental profile, without having to invest in new equipment and complements Valspar Automotive’s existing line of products geared toward meeting air quality standards including the premium De Beer water-based refinish solutions and the new House of Kolor Shimrin2 low VOC custom finishing product line.
In other new technology news, Valspar introduced a new paint color and performance technology with the launch of Valspar Signature Colors with the Hi-DEF Advanced Color System. The new formulation is available exclusively at Lowe’s.
To celebrate the donation of over one million gallons of paint to Habitat for Humanity International, Valspar created a two-storey home made of Valspar paint cans at an event in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Valspar has donated cash and paint cans to Habitat for Humanity since 1979. The company developed a close relationship with the organization and created A Brush with Kindness, a program transforming neighborhoods through the revitalization of the home exterior. Valspar became a national partner of Habitat for Humanity in 2002.