2004 Top Companies Report

August 11, 2005

Find out how your company and your competitors ranked in our annual report profiling the top manufacturers in the world.

1. AKZO NOBEL ($5.9 billion) NETHERLANDS   32. WATTYL ($319.5 million) AUSTRALIA
2. PPG ($4.83 billion) USA   33. ORICA ($307 million) AUSTRALIA
3. ICI GROUP ($4.78 billion) UK   34. BARLOWORLD ($301.1 million) SOUTH AFRICA
4. HENKEL ($4.61 billion) GERMANY   35. KCC ($300 million*) SOUTH KOREA
5. SHERWIN-WILLIAMS ($4.36 billion*) USA   36. ALTANA ($293.2 million) GERMANY
6. DUPONT ($3.5 billion*) USA   37. DAINIPPON INK & CHEM. ($290 million*) JAPAN
7. BASF COATINGS ($2.28 billion) GERMANY   38. CHUGOKU ($275.7 million) JAPAN
8. VALSPAR ($2.24 billion) USA   39. RENNER HERRMANN ($270 million*) BRAZIL
9. RPM ($2.08 billion) USA   40. DYRUP ($266.6 million) DENMARK
10. SIGMAKALON ($1.92 billion) NETHERLANDS   41. DUNN-EDWARDS ($244.4 million) USA
11. NIPPON PAINT ($1.61 billion) JAPAN   42. YASAR ($240 million) TURKEY
12. KANSAI PAINT ($1.5 billion*) JAPAN   43. ROCK PAINT ($217 million) JAPAN
13. H.B. FULLER ($1.28 billion) USA   44. SICO ($203.1 million) CANADA
14. ROHM & HAAS ($1.06 billion) USA   45. LORD CORP. ($200 million*) USA
15. SIKA AG ($928.5 million) SWITZERLAND   46. CIN ($195.6 million) PORTUGAL
16. BENJAMIN MOORE ($900 million*) USA   47. AMERON ($190.3 million) USA
17. AB. WILH. BECKER ($799.5 million) SWEDEN   48. DPI ($173 million) SOUTH KOREA
18. JOTUN ($774.8 million) NORWAY   49. NATIONAL PAINTS ($155.5 million) JORDAN
19. MASCO ($740 million*) USA   50. SHINTO PAINT ($153.2 million) JAPAN
20. DAW/CAPAROL ($734 million*) GERMANY   51. DIAMOND VOGEL ($151 million*) USA
21. 3M ($640 million*) USA   52. TOHPE ($143.7 million) JAPAN
22. HEMPEL ($606.4 million*) DENMARK   53. M.A.B. PAINTS ($136 million*) USA
23. DAI NIPPON TORYO ($552 million*) JAPAN   54. ACE HARDWARE ($135 million) USA
24. TIKKURILA ($497 million) FINLAND   55. YOUNG CHI ($134 million*) TAIWAN
25. FERRO ($469 million*) USA   56. TOA PAINTS ($131 million*) THAILAND
26. ASIAN PAINTS ($466.6 million) INDIA   57. GREBE GROUP ($123 million*) GERMANY
27. PROFESSIONAL PAINT ($450 million) USA   58. TIGERWERK ($115 million*) AUSTRIA
28. FORBO ($426.4 million) SWITZERLAND   59. TAMBOUR ($110 million*) ISRAEL
29. DURON ($350 million*) USA     * estimated  
30. COMEX ($340 million*) MEXICO        
31. KELLY-MOORE ($325 million) USA        

Coatings World's 2004 Top Companies Report

The following online report contains excerpts from Coatings World's 2004 "Top Companies Report." For the full Top Companies Report�including complete profiles, key personnel, statements from key executives and other items, please refer to the July 2004 print edition.

SALES: $5.9 billion

Major Products: Decorative, industrial, marine and protective coatings and automotive refinish paint.

New Products: Maskin, a temporary paint system, Tinova VX, a water-based exterior wood paint with a high solids content of approximately 65%, and Interfine 979 and 691 marine finishes.

The leader again in the global paint and coatings market, Akzo Nobel's coatings sector in 2003 recorded "three percent autonomous growth" and maintained "ROI at the 20% threshold," all while battling a tough economy, fluctuating currencies and increased pension costs. Part of Akzo's strategy was to zero in on core operations. Akzo divested its impregnated papers operation as well as 20 other non-core businesses, sold unneeded facilities and limited its acquisitions. In addition, it lowered its headcount.
According to Akzo Nobel, while business in emerging markets continues to expand, closer to home it hasn't been as easy. The decorative coatings market was tough in 2003, especially in retail. However, on the industrial side, Akzo said it held up "reasonably well" and market conditions for car refinishes remained very competitive.

It is in emerging markets where Akzo is really flexing its muscle, and its aggressive actions are paying off. The Asia-Pacific region now represents 14% of its worldwide sales, and the company continues to invest in infrastructure there. In 2003, Akzo opened a powder coatings facility in Vietnam and a non-stick coatings facility in Dongguan City, China. Akzo Nobel also pumped more money into its decorative coatings facility in Suzhou, China. In addition, it upped its stake in its powder coatings joint venture in South Korea. After dissolving a long-running relationship with Nippon Paint, Akzo set up its own marketing and sales company for marine and protective coatings in Japan. (For more on this deal, see Nippon Paint's profile on page 38 in print edition).

While its overall decorative coatings business was weak, with volume down and sales figures dropping from E1,9 billion in 2002 to E1,8 billion in 2003, the Asia-Pacific region-which it defines as China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea-showed a double-digit volume increase. Part of its success stems from modernization efforts in emerging markets. For example, strong performance in Indonesia was fueled by the introduction of mixing machines in the mid-tier segment.

On the industrial side, Asia-Pacific sales were positive for Akzo Nobel, which has reported success in several countries and continues to increase its presence. A new factory in Vietnam, opened at the end of 2002, is already profitable, and in the Korean market, Akzo Nobel acquired the remaining 50% stake in Interpon Powder Coatings Korea which had been held by DPI. In China, Akzo purchased new land in Guangdong Province-earmarking it for further expansion of operations in the southern portion of the country. To buoy its marine coatings operations in the region, Akzo built a new marine and yacht coatings lab in Geoje, South Korea and invested funds in its Asia-Pacific technical center in Jurong Town, Singapore. Akzo Nobel continues to invest in Asia. This year it plans to expand powder coatings in China with new factories in Langfang and Guandong Province.

Not all of Akzo Nobel's expansion and improvement efforts are relegated to Asia. This spring, Akzo Nobel opened a new R&D laboratory at its marine and protective coatings facility in Felling, UK. The new lab is part of an ongoing investment of more than E10 million by the marine business unit to improve its research and development facilities around the world. The existing R&D building at the Felling site is being redesigned and transformed into the business unit's technology center.

Akzo Nobel also opened a new non-stick coatings facility in S�o Paulo, Brazil to supply non-stick coatings for the Brazilian cookware industry as well as coatings for specialized industrial applications, such as automotive pistons and copier rolls.

SALES: $4.83 billion

Major Products: Automotive OEM and refinish, industrial and packaging coatings and architectural paints and stains.

New Products: Velvecron soft-touch finish coatings.

For PPG, coatings continues to become more of its focus. In 2003, coatings sales reached $4.83 billion, representing 55% of total sales, outpacing the company's chemicals (20%) and glass and fiber glass businesses (25%). It's a far cry from a little more than a decade ago when coatings represented less than 40% of PPG's sales.

In 2003, PPG recorded coatings sales growth of eight percent, of which two percent was connected with improved volume in aerospace, architectural, automotive and industrial businesses. The company said that lower pricing in the auto sector offset high pricing in other coatings businesses.

From its Pittsburgh headquarters, PPG operates a truly global coatings operation. With 25 plants in the NAFTA region, PPG also operates five plants in Italy, three each in China, Germany and Spain and two each in Brazil, the UK and France. In addition, manufacturing is handled in Argentina, Australia, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Thailand and Turkey.

According to chairman and CEO Raymond W. LeBoeuf, growth in Asia has contributed to growth in PPG's industrial coatings unit, which supplies paint for many products ranging from laptop computers and cell phones to bulldozers, office furniture and general aviation equipment.

PPG is keeping pace with other paint makers in terms of expansion efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the end of 2003, PPG's PRC-DeSoto unit began manufacturing aerospace coatings at its Suzhou, China applications support center. Production of Desothane HS topcoats started up just in time for PPG to take advantage of consolidation in the Chinese airline industry, which brought an increase in repainting opportunities.

In February, PPG Industries and Kansai Paint entered into negotiations to create an alliance focused on the global automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) industry. According to PPG and Kansai, the alliance would set up marketing and sales operations initially in North America and Europe for Japanese automotive OEMs. Following that, PPG and Kansai would set up marketing and sales operations in Shanghai, China, and later in other Asian countries to serve all of the region's automotive OEM customers. As this issue went to press, no further announcements had been made regarding those negotiations.

At PPG Industries' annual meeting held on April 15, CEO Raymond LeBoeuf said he was able see light at the end of the tunnel in terms of economic recovery.

"For the first time in three years, we at PPG are optimistic about the global economy," LeBoeuf said. "Obviously, improving economic conditions will help us. But just as important are the steps we took during the downturn to be able to generate growth when the economy rebounded."

While large-scale acquisitions aren't in the company's immediate future, LeBoeuf said "small acquisitions, especially in our optical products, and architectural and industrial coatings businesses, are possible. Over the next five years growth will come from these businesses."


Major Products: Decorative and architectural paint, paper and packaging coatings and adhesives.

New Products: Glidden EZ Track ceiling paint and Realife tough matte paint. In North America, ICI has been selected to manufacture This Old House paint. National Starch launched Aerobond 12-200A adhesive for board laminators.

UK-based ICI Group tallied sales of $4.78 billion in 2003 through sales of paint and adhesives manufactured by ICI Paint and National Starch. ICI's global paint business contributed $3.5 billion through sales of architectural and decorative paint and packaging and packaging coatings.

In the U.S. market ICI Paints has been working hard to expand its distribution and create a buzz in the industry with new lines and new marketing deals. On the distribution side, ICI Paints last year acquired eight architectural paint stores in the San Joaquin Valley, CA area from the Wilshire Paint Company. This spring, it inked an accord with McCoy's Building Supply Centers, in which McCoy's would stock Glidden in its 85 store chain located throughout in Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

In January, ICI formed an alliance with the grand-daddy of all home improvement shows. This Old House Ventures, Inc. has chosen ICI to produce a new line of paint sold under the This Old House banner. Recently, ICI announced an exclusive three-year agreement with Champion Homes. Champion's manufactured housing division use ICI Paint products exclusively in all of its 30 North American plant locations
ICI's National Starch unit manufactures a wide range of products sold to a diverse customer base. One can find its products everywhere from food to healthcare to construction. The Bridgewater, NJ-based unit reported that adhesives sales accounted for 41% of its total revenue in 2003.

SALES: $4.61 billion

New Products: Liofol A 1883 waterborne one-component primer for flexible food packaging and Adhesin A 2354 adhesive for corrugated board boxes.

Henkel sells more than 3,000 different adhesives and sealants for use in just about every aspect of life here on earth. Last year Henkel made three purchases to expand its global presence-YIT Construction's Makroflex sealant and insulating business (a market leader in north, central and eastern Europe); Lucky Silicone of South Korea; and the adhesives and building auxiliaries business of DESC Group in Mexico City.

SALES: $4.36 billion*
HQ: Cleveland, OH USA

Major Products: Architectural and decorative paint, stains and varnishes, wood finishing products, caulks, adhesives, automotive finishes and industrial and marine coatings.

New Products: Thompson's Advanced waterproofer; Sherwin Williams ProXP; Krylon Fusion for Plastic; ExpressTech; Seaguard 6000 (relaunched); JetGlo Express; ULTRA 7000 matte clearcoat CC947; water-reducible UV-curable coatings in the Ultra-Cure line; Powdura NSF-61 certified powder coatings; Lusterless high solids polyurethane topcoat; Pro-Hide Silver high build interior latex coatings; enhanced SuPrime primers, sealers and undercoaters; Accolade, The Crown Jewel of Paints (relaunched); Colron Refined Danish Oil; Colron Refined Teak Oil; Builders Solution high-build product line for drywall; and Eco Guard latex spray paint.

At Sherwin-Williams, consolidated net sales in 2003 rose 4.3% to $5.41 billion and income before the cumulative effect of change in accounting principle increased 6.9% to $332.1 million, despite an after-tax $13.3 million headwind from a reduction in its net pension credit. (Coatings World's estimate excludes non-paint items and other administrative items reported by the company.)

Sherwin-Williams' paint store sales in 2003 rose 5.1%, with comparable store sales up four percent. Operating profit rose 1.2% compared to 2002. In 2003, the company added 45 new stores, bringing its total roster to 2,688 shops. In addition, S-W is now two-thirds of the way through a three-year program to update stores, with improvements including POS computer systems. Officials contend S-W remains on target to revamp the entire chain by the end of the year.

External net sales in the consumer segment rose just one percent to $1.2 billion in 2003 and operating profit was up 3.3% to $199 million. The company said a growing DIY market resulted in stronger architectural paint sales and increased sales of aerosol and wood care products at some of the segment's largest retailers.

Sherwin-Williams' automotive finishes segment posted a 0.6% sales increase.
Sales recorded by its international coatings segment rose 16.8% and operating profit reached $8.4 million in 2003, compared to an operating loss of $5.6 million in 2002. On a positive note, Sherwin-Williams said poor economic conditions that have existed in South America are showing signs of improvement and although demand remains flat now, its brand expansion continues. The company launched Minwax stains and varnishes in Chile and expanded its architectural and industrial distribution platforms with new accounts in Brazil.

In the UK, Ronseal delivered another "outstanding year of financial performance," according to the company.

Sherwin-Williams continues to work on its international presence. On the automotive side, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Corp. acquired ScottWarren in France and formed an alliance with Chemical Specialties Inc., the largest privately owned paint maker in South Africa, to distribute its auto refinish basecoat/clearcoat systems in the country.

As manufacturing moves to Asia, Sherwin-Williams is following. In March, the company's chemical coatings division opened two facilities in China to serve product finishers in the Asia-Pacific region. This plan included a 116,000-sq.-ft. plant complex on 10 acres in Shanghai to manufacture liquid and powder coatings and a facility in Dongguan that modifies liquid coatings for color, gloss and viscosity.

Proving that even a mature firm can be innovative, recent endeavors and new technologies from Sherwin-Williams have paid off. "Consumer response" and "sales results" for Krylon Fusion for Plastic have been "extraordinary," and the Twist and Pour container first used on the Dutch Boy line has enabled the brand to gain share in the DIY paint market every quarter, according to Sherwin-Williams. In addition, at the close of 2003, nearly 300 Ace retailers had signed on for a program to sell the company's Pratt & Lambert Accolade and Red Seal brands.

Of course the big story for Sherwin-Williams this year is its recent deal with Duron. Announced in mid-May, Sherwin-Williams entered into a definitive agreement to purchase 100% of Duron stock for $253 million, plus the assumption of certain financial obligations at closing.

SALES: $3.5 billion*

KEY PERSONNEL: Edward J. Donnelly, group vice president, Coatings and Colors Technologies; Marty M. McQuade, vice president/general manager, DuPont Herberts Automotive Systems; Eric G. Melin, vice president, general manager, DuPont Refinish; and Douglas L. Moore, vice president, general manager, DuPont Advanced Coatings Systems.

Major Products: Automotive OEM and refinish and industrial coatings.

New Products: ProTect Clear; SupraShield clearcoat; HyperCure primer and clearcoats; Imron Elite, Envex powder coatings; UV-cure powder coatings for furniture; Wet-on-Wet TuTone paint application process; and the AccuAngle metallic color protractor.

DuPont's Coatings and Color Technologies unit tallied a whopping $5.5 billion in sales in 2003-a nine percent increase over 2002, although sales volume was flat. The coatings and colors group's results include sales of coatings as well as digital printing and raw materials, such as titanium dioxide pigment. According to company estimates by sector, refinish coatings accounted for 30% sales in 2003, OEM some 23% and white pigments another 33%. Coatings World estimates that DuPont's "coatings" sales in 2003 were approximately $3.5 billion.

There have been some changes in DuPont's international operations. In December, DuPont and Kansai Paint agreed to amicably terminate their automotive coatings joint venture relationships due to "incompatible global strategies." The three joint ventures�which provide coatings to Japanese auto makers in North America and the UK�will continue to serve customers during the transition period. In 2003, Dupont reduced its headcount by 775 employees as part of a restructuring program to consolidate assets and eliminate redundancies that came with the 1999 acquisition of Herberts. In addition, the company closed manufacturing plants in Cologne, Helmstedt and Burogo, Germany.

SALES: $2.28 billion
HQ: M�nster, GERMANY

Major Products: Automotive OEM and refinish and industrial coatings and decorative paint.

New Products: ProGloss, Cathoguard 500, Glasurit 68 line and Glasurit 923-135 HS Racing Clear VOC 3.5.

BASF's global coatings business recorded sales of $2.28 billion in 2003, with 45% coming from its automotive OEM operation and 25% from the refinish side. Industrial coatings accounted for 20% of sales, and decorative coatings accounted for 10%, according to the company.

Coil coatings is a core element of BASF Coatings' growth strategy in industrial coatings, and the Asia-Pacific region is a big part of BASF's plans. As construction continues to fuel Chinese demand for color-coated steel, BASF recognized the need to set up local production. The company, which had operated a coil coatings business in China for a number of years and dedicated a tech service lab in Shanghai in 2003, has added production capabilities.

BASF continues to expand in another growing market-the Chinese automotive industry. At Nissan's plant in Haudu, Guangdong province-operated with Chinese Dongfeng Motor Corp.-BASF Shanghai Coatings (BSC) is the lead supplier for automotive OEM coatings, providing primers, basecoats and clearcoats for car bodies and bumpers. Work is carried out in cooperation with BASF NOF Coatings (BNC) in Tokyo, which became the lead supplier for Nissan's Japanese production locations several years ago.

BASF Coatings and Shanghai Eastern Star Automobile Trading Co., Ltd. - the sales and after-sales service partner of Mercedes-Benz China Ltd. for automotive refinish in eastern China-have expanded their partnership with a five-year contract. All Mercedes-Benz after-sales service stations in the eastern China distribution-network of Eastern Star will exclusively use Glasurit products.

BASF has also made investments in its decorative business, opening a new plant for Suvinil in S�o Bernardo do Campo, Brazil in March. Although it is the smallest sector of its total coatings operation-representing just 10% of sales in 2003-BASF is committed to its decorative business in South America. The Brazilian market currently produces 600 millions liters of decorative paints a year, of which 30% are BASF products.

"The new plant construction represents an important step for our company. It underlines our confidence in the growth potential of the Brazilian market," said Rui Goerck, vice president of BASF's coatings business in South America. "Despite the economic difficulties over the past few years, South America still has a lot of strategic importance," explained Goerck. Over the last three years, BASF invested approximately E100 millions in the region; 85% was spent on projects in Brazil.

The E2 million investment in S�o Bernardo do Campo has increased capacity by 30%, making the site the major coatings production center of BASF in South America. BASF operates a production site for decorative paints in Jaboat�o as well as distribution centers in Santa Cruz and Sapucaia do Sul.

On the production side, BASF Coatings announced plans to expand its existing resin factory at its headquarters in M�nster. The expansion effort includes installation of an additional production line for cathodic electrodeposition (CED) paint resin. The factory, which began producing resins in 1978, has been operating on a continuous 24-hour production cycle since 1992.

SALES: $2.24 billion

Major Products: Decorative, protective and industrial and paint, packaging coatings and automotive and fleet refinish products.

Valspar's 2003 net sales rose 5.7% from $2.1 billion in 2002 to $2.24 billion in 2003. While favorable foreign exchange rates contributed 2.2% of that growth, strong sales in the architectural, automotive and specialty product lines, partially driven by the introduction of a new product at Lowe's, plus the benefit of a 53rd week in fiscal 2003, contributed to the increase in sales, according to Valspar.

There is no denying the success Valspar's architectural business is having at Lowe's, the U.S.'s second largest home improvement retailer. In fact, the positive results of its alliance has spurred Valspar to increase its manufacturing capacity. In January, the company announced plans to build a new architectural coatings manufacturing and distribution facility in Lebanon, PA. The new plant is expected to be fully operational by mid-2005 and will provide a capacity similar to Valspar's Sacramento, CA facility.

At the beginning of 2004, Valspar acquired De Beer Lakfabrieken, a privately-owned manufacturer and distributor of automotive refinish coatings based in Lelystad, The Netherlands. Calling the De Beer operation an "excellent strategic fit," Richard Rompala commented, "This acquisition broadens our product offering and technology for the U.S. automotive refinish market and enhances our ability to grow in this attractive market on a global basis."

Overseas acquisitions, such as De Beer, have played an increasingly important role for the company since the mid-1990s. Starting with a "small, marginally profitable acquisition" in Europe in 1996, Valspar now has more than $600 million in sales coming from outside the U.S.

So far in 2004, Valspar's performance has been stellar. Net income for the second quarter ended April 30 rose 21.6% and sales rose 13.6% to $638.38 million, compared to the same quarter one year ago. Sales for the first half were up 10.6% to $1.14 billion compared to the first six months of last year.

"Second quarter results benefited from the recovery in the U.S. industrial economy, continuing strength in our architectural coatings product line and the impact of strong foreign currencies. We are pleased with our first half growth and expect good sales momentum for the balance of the year," said Rompala.

SALES: $2.08 billion
HQ: Medina, OH USA

Major Products: Industrial and consumer coatings and related products sold through a number of subsidiaries operating around the world.

New Products: Stonhard RTZ Flooring, DAP's Phenoseal, Varathane's stains and finishes product line, Rust-Oleum's Sierra no-odor product, Bondo's Truck Guard bed liner for trucks, Zinsser's Water-Tite basement paint, Tremco barrier systems, and Day-Glo's Chalk-It.

Through several subsidiaries that are market leaders in industrial and consumer paint markets around the world, RPM recorded a five percent rise in sales to $2.08 billion in fiscal 2003. (The company's mix of operating companies includes producers of raw materials for coatings. However, RPM does not breakout those sales.) Revenue growth combined with strong operational focus resulted in a 21% net income gain to $122.8 million, and an earnings per share increase of nine percent, both before a charge taken to increase reserves for asbestos liabilities-a major issue for the company.

RPM has always been a hunter, actively seeking out potential acquisitions that would add to its bottom line. While a restructuring plan put purchases on the back burner for some time, the company is back on the prowl. RPM acquired "at fair value businesses with approximately $70 million in annualized revenues," Frank C. Sullivan, CEO, wrote in the company's most recent annual report.

RPM has kept its acquisition strategy the same: buy the brand and keep people. According to Sullivan, RPM seeks out "great management teams willing to stay and run the businesses as part of RPM." In many cases, second- and third-generation family members still run operating companies within the RPM fold.

Along those lines, RPM Europe SA closed a deal in March, moving Ecoloc N.V./Lock-Tile Belgium N.V. and Compakta/Pactan-businesses with combined sales of approximately E20 million-into the RPM stable. Ecoloc, which makes commercial and industrial tile flooring and pioneered the first flooring system based on the principle of interlocking PVC tiles, will be run by founder Patrick Stoop and his management team. Compakta/Pactan, a German manufacturer of specialty silicone-based adhesives, joint filler and sealers, will be led by Michael Futscher and other existing employees.

"These transactions represent our expanded emphasis on completing acquisitions in Europe, an important part of our growth strategy," Sullivan said.

How serious is RPM about Europe? According to the company, its goal is to develop a "$500 million base of business in the European marketplace within the next three years."

SALES: $1.92 billion

New Products: Dekoral Secrets of Nature and Seigneurie Pancrytex.

Recent Acquisitions: Primalex.

In March 2003, Bain Capital completed its purchase of SigmaKalon from TotalFinaElf, giving the paint maker "increased financial resources and stability" and the "tools to grow our market share and pursue a variety of promising new business opportunities," said Pierre-Marie De Leener, SigmaKalon's CEO.

Since then, Sigma has done a lot to increase its market share and expand its presence in Europe and Asia.

At the beginning of 2004, Samsung Fine Chemicals (SFC) and SigmaKalon created Sigma Samsung Coatings (SSC). The Korea-based joint venture based will focus on shipbuilding as well as protective, coil and general industrial coatings markets. In the accord, SFC Coatings and Sigma Coatings will continue to serve their own customers but will combine manufacturing and technical support.

"This joint venture is a promising new business opportunity, in which we will be able to benefit from the technical experience and infrastructure of a solid partner in the Far East...[It] illustrates our strategy to develop our presence in the Far East coatings market," said De Leener.

Just last month, SigmaKalon acquired Primalex, a leading wall paint maker in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with sales of E20 million. Acquiring Primalex is part of SigmaKalon's plan to expand its presence throughout the EU as new countries gain membership. Sigma contends it holds a leading position in the Polish and Hungarian markets and has strong and developing positions in Romania and the Ukraine.

SALES: $1.61 billion

Major Products: Automotive, industrial and marine coatings and architectural/decorative paint.

Recent Acquisition: Mitsui Kinzoku Paints & Chemicals Co.

According to Nippon Paint, Asia accounts for approximately 60% of the worldwide market for marine coatings and more than 80% of new-building projects are carried out in Japan, Korea and China. Nippon plans on riding that market to new heights in the global coatings market.

After announcing plans to sever a long-standing relationship with Akzo Nobel's International unit, Nippon has a new strategy for its marine coatings business. Backed by capital investment from Wuthelam Holdings Pte Ltd.-Nippon's business partner in Asia since the 1960s-Nippon Paint Marine Coatings Co., Ltd. is scheduled to start operations Nov. 1, the day after its alliance with International ends.

Nippon Paint plans to expand its overseas business network by using manufacturing, sales, service and logistic networks of NIPSEA, its joint venture with Wuthelam, and will also establish new bases at key locations in Europe, America and the Middle East. The company's goal: market share among the top three companies in the international marketplace.

SALES: $1.5 billion*

Major Products: Automotive, industrial, marine and protective coatings and decorative paint.

Kansai Paint, the second largest paint company headquartered in Japan, operates in several key markets�automotive, industrial, marine and protective coatings and decorative paint. The company also dabbles in non-paint areas, such as communications, electronics and biotechnology. Kansai reported total sales of $1.6 billion in FY 2003. Coatings World estimates its paint sales are approximately $1.5 billion.

Like its counterparts in the U.S. and Europe, Kansai Paint is also eyeing growth markets in Asia, specifically in China. The company has a solid starting point for future growth in the hotly pursued automotive area, where it already participates in several joint ventures: Tianjin Beacon Kansai Co. Ltd., Shenyang Kansai Paint Co. Ltd., Changqing Kansai Paint Co. and Hunan Kansai Automotive Coatings Co. According to Kansai, production volume of automotive coatings through its JVs in China was expected to rise from 12,000 tons per year in 2002 to 16,000 tons per year in 2003.

There have been changes in Kansai's joint venture agreements. In February, Kansai Paint signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding and entered into negotiations to explore an alliance to respond quickly and effectively to the demands and requirements of the global automotive OEM industry. Based on the initial memorandum, PPG and Kansai would set up marketing and sales operations initially in North America and Europe for Japanese automotive OEMs. PPG and Kansai then would set up marketing and sales operations in Shanghai, China, and later in other Asian countries to serve all of the region's automotive OEM customers.

This new accord with PPG came just months after Kansai and DuPont agreed to amicably terminate their automotive coatings joint venture relationships-some of which went back more than a decade-due to "incompatible global strategies." The DuPont and Kansai three joint ventures-DuPont Kansai Automotive Coatings Company in Troy, MI, Pinturas Automotorices DuPont Kansai, S.A. de C.V. in Mexico City and DuPont Kansai Automotive Coatings (UK) in Hemel, Hempstead, UK-provide coatings to Japanese auto makers in North America and the UK. At the time of the announcement in December 2003, Kansai and DuPont said the JVs would continue to serve customers during a one- to two-year transition period.

SALES: $1.28 billion
HQ: St. Paul, MN USA

Major Products: Adhesives and powder coatings.

Recent Acquisition: Probos.

H.B. Fuller posted a 2.5% increase in net revenue to $1.28 billion in 2003, a welcomed outcome following the 1.4% decline it recorded during fiscal 2002. Its global adhesives business recorded a 3.2% gain in sales, driven by positive currency exchanges, while its Full-Valu/Specialty segment posted a one percent rise in sales for the year.

Net revenue from its powder coatings business was down due to North America's sluggish economy and applicators moving operations to "lower cost countries," such as China-a country where Fuller does not have powder operations. It currently has coatings units operating in North America, the UK and the United Arab Emirates.

SALES: $1.06 billion

Major Products: Coatings, adhesives and sealants.

New Products: Ready-to-Ship general metal powder coatings and Mor-Melt R-7001E moisture-curing polyurethane reactive hot melt adhesive.

Rohm and Haas' sales of finished coatings, adhesives and sealants were $1.06 billion in 2003. Automotive coatings represented $107 million, a drop of two percent. Powder coatings sales jumped 43% to $324 million, primarily due to a full year of sales from the 2002 acquisition of Ferro's European powder coatings business.

Although the powder market isn't posting the dramatic gains it did a few years ago, Rohm and Haas is focused on expanding the technology's presence and its own bottom line. With Ferro's European business firmly in its fold, Rohm and Haas revamped its powder coatings unit, giving it a global focus and tapping Reggie Horne to serve as vice president and general manager of the operation.

To continue powder's penetration into liquid's territory, Rohm and Haas needs to make it easier for customers to get the products they need as quickly as possible. To that end, it created the Ready-to-Ship roster-12 distinct product lines and more than 250 color and texture choices for the North American general metal finishing sector.

Rohm and Haas' adhesives and sealants unit reported a seven percent increase in sales to $632 million in 2003

SALES: $928.5 million

Major Products: Adhesives, sealants and related construction chemical products.

Recent Acquisitions: Casco A/S (Denmark) and Secaicho Group's construction chemicals business (Japan).

If it involves a construction project or sealing, bonding,