CFO Maëlys Castella said, "We achieved further growth in profitability in the third quarter, with returns up for all Business Areas and positive volume developments in Decorative Paints and Specialty Chemicals. We are delivering on our improvement programs and maintaining a strong cash discipline. We decided to increase the interim dividend by 6 percent to €0.37 per share.
"Our focus remains on driving continuous improvement and organic growth. We broke ground on a powder coatings plant in Mumbai that will bring us closer to our customers in the north and west of India. We also introduced innovative products that bring major sustainability benefits to our customers, including our Berol DR-B1 direct release surfactant and Aquasilk waterborne wood coating. Denim Drift was launched as our Color of the Year for 2017."
Highlights of the report include:
Decorative Paints: Volumes increased 3 percent due to positive developments in Asia and EMEA, while volumes continued to be lower in Latin America. Revenue was down 3 percent mainly due to unfavorable currency effects. We launched our 2017 Color of the Year, Denim Drift, part of our ongoing efforts to inspire customers to make confident color choices and drive growth for our business.
Performance Coatings: Volumes were down by 2 percent affected by adverse conditions in the marine and oil and gas industries, partly offset by positive developments in other segments, including automotive and specialty coatings. Revenue was down 6 percent due to unfavorable currencies, lower volumes and adverse price/mix effects. The intended acquisition of BASF's Industrial Coatings business is expected to be completed towards the end of 2016. We broke ground on a €9 million powder coatings plant in Mumbai which will bring us closer to our customers in the north and west of India and will also provide several innovative lines new to the Indian market.
Specialty Chemicals: Volumes were up 1 percent with positive developments, especially in Industrial Chemicals, partly offset by lower demand in the oil-related segments. Revenue was down 3 percent mainly due to price deflation in several markets. We launched Berol DR-B1, an essential ingredient for outdoor cleaning products which successfully meets stringent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, without compromising on performance.
Sustainability, Human Cities and Innovation: We achieved several milestones in the quarter, including: The launch of Aquasilk, a waterborne wood coating that helps Chinese customers meet strict local environmental standards; an addition to our award-winning Intersleek marine foul release coating range which incorporates a bio-renewable raw material; and the signing of a flagship Human Cities project to help renovate four historic sites in the Jing'an district of Shanghai.