LONDON -- ICI plc Chief Executive Brendan O'Neill told company shareholders that the company continues to set a long-term target of 5-7% annual growth, based on organic growth of 4-5% per year and 1-2% growth from "small bolt-on acquisitions, assuming we find the right opportunities to genuinely add value."

O'Neill and ICI Chairman Alex Trotman said the company exhibited "resilience" in 2001 despite economic challenges, as sales held steady and profits declined 11% compared to the year before.

Key developments for the company's Paints business in the last year included the launch of the new Ralph Lauren architectural-paint line in the United States, which includes 28 new products, textured finishes and supporting tinting systems. In Canada, ICI has revamped its "Color Your World" decorative-paint stores.

O'Neill said ICI is looking to expand its commitment to improving its performance in the areas of safety, health and the environment. He said ICI is "taking steps to expand this agenda and embrace sustainable development, with its triple focus of environmental, social and financial performance." In a reflection of those goals, ICI has named a board director, Paul Dreschler, to lead the company's sustainable-development initiatives.

"We're serious about this issue. It's not just a cosmetic exercise," O'Neill said. "We have made enormous progress over the last decade in reducing our environmental impact, and our transformation into a specialty chemicals and paints company has further contributed to this."

The sustainability policy calls for greater focus on product stewardship and the life-cycle impact of products.