Overall raw material prices remain a challenge for paint makers. Looking forward, the company expects the higher oil and TiO2 prices on average to have an inflationary impact.
The decorative paints unit recorded a revenue increase of four percent in the first quarter, however, lower volumes impacted earnings, particularly in North America. Restructuring and cost reduction actions are underway in Europe and North America to offset weaker demand.
In the performance coatings unit, revenue increased 11 percent and EBITDA was up 15 percent compared with the previous year. Industrial coatings, which were boosted by acquisition activity, achieved the strongest growth, followed by marine and protective coatings.
“We are continuing to focus on performance improvement. Our global margin management efforts are also proving successful as we continue to mitigate the adverse effects of higher raw material costs,” said CEO Hans Wijers. “However, our volumes were down slightly, reflecting the volatile nature of the economic conditions. Despite these challenges, we have solid fundamentals, renowned brands and a strong geographic spread. Furthermore, the ongoing performance improvement program shows that we are taking the right steps towards achieving our medium-term ambitions.”