Despite a soft economy, all of the top 10 coatings manufacturers increased sales over the previous year. This feature discusses the top 10 and some of their top stories.

Akzo Nobel's coatings were used on several of the main venues at the Olympic Games. (Photo courtesy of Akzo Nobel)

1. Akzo Nobel Coatings nv

The Netherlands

31 26 3664433 • www.akzonobel.com

CEO/President: Rudy van der Meer, Manager of Coatings

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $6.074 billion

Akzo Nobel is a leading global company in healthcare products, coatings and chemicals. It is the largest coatings company in the world, with about an 8% share, and is active in all sectors of the coatings industry. In the United States, Akzo is a major supplier of powder, coil and wood coatings, in addition to having a position in other industrial, auto-refinish and marine coatings. North American coatings sales are estimated at $1.1 billion. Total coatings business unit sales were $6.566 billion. Noncoatings sales of the coatings business unit amounted to $492 million.

Top stories

In reporting its second-quarter performance, Akzo Nobel announced that although its total sales were down slightly compared with the same period in 2003, operating income in the coatings business was up 7% due to strong growth and cost savings. Much of the growth occurred in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. Marine and protective coatings, industrial finishes and powder coatings all improved.

In two separate deals with BASF, Akzo Nobel will divest part of its liquid coatings activities involving its Car Refinishes business in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain, and it will acquire BASF Coatings' Wood Construction business. Production of the BASF products, which are mainly used to coat doors and windows used in the construction industry, will be transferred from Münster, Germany, to Akzo Nobel's Decorative Coatings site in Cologne. In June, the company announced it would also acquire Germany's second-largest paint wholesaler, Timpe & Mock, which has annual sales of about 125 million euros.

In July, the company opened two new multipurpose coatings facilities in China, one near Beijing and one near Shanghai, that will manufacture wood, coil and specialty plastic coatings. Akzo Nobel now operates eight production sites in China and, as of August, had two new powder coating facilities under construction in China, which is the fastest growing powder market in the world.

In May, the company began construction on a decorative coatings facility near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Around the same time, Akzo Nobel opened a state-of-the-art R&D facility at its Marine and Protective Coatings facility in Felling, UK. Investments have also been made in research facilities in South Korea, Singapore and Newton Ferrers, UK.

2. PPG Industries Inc.

Pittsburgh

412-434-3131 • www.ppg.com

CEO/President: Raymond LeBoeuf

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $4.836 billion

PPG is the largest producer worldwide of transportation OEM and refinish coatings. It also has a global position in metal-packaging coatings. In the United States, PPG has a very strong position in almost all segments of the coatings industry. Recent acquisitions have given the company a strong architectural coatings presence in the United States. Coatings represent 55% of corporate sales of $8.756 billion. Glass and chemicals make up the rest of the sales. North American coatings sales are estimated at 70%, or $3.385 billion, of the total coatings sales.

Top stories

Sales for the second quarter of 2004 were $2.43 billion, a PPG record for any quarter. Coatings sales were $1.35 billion-also a quarterly record-up $105 million, or 8%. The growth was driven by stronger volumes in the architectural, industrial, automotive OEM, aerospace and automotive refinish businesses and the strengthening of foreign currencies.

"Our strong performance in the quarter reflects the benefits of a growing economy, and more important, the consistent application of strategies that have generated profitable growth in our coatings segment...and our relentless focus on reducing costs," says Raymond LeBoeuf, chairman and CEO.

In June, PPG Total Service Solutions announced that it had signed a contract with Wuxi Vehicle Body Co. to provide the vehicle manufacturer with a chemical and process management program at its facility in Wuxi, China, the company's first comprehensive product and service program in that country. PPG will provide the facility with all indirect materials and chemicals associated with the coatings application process, including detackification and paint line cleaning solvents, consumables and lab equipment. In addition to the program, PPG is also supplying all the materials required for the coatings application process. The company operates more than 100 service programs in 12 countries.

In April, Blue Bird Corp., a major supplier of school buses, commercial buses and recreational vehicles, chose PPG as its single-source provider. Blue Bird has facilities in three countries.

In February, PPG and Kansai Paint signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding and entered into negotiations to create an alliance. The companies said the objective was to respond quickly to the demands of the global automotive OEM industry. PPG planned to set up marketing and sales operations initially in North America and Europe for Japanese automotive OEMs. PPG and Kansai then planned to establish marketing and sales operations in Shanghai, China, and later in other Asian countries to serve all of the region's automotive OEM customers.

Sherwin-Williams has opened a new plant in Shanghai, China, for the manufacture of liquid and powder coatings. (Photo courtesy of Sherwin-Williams)

3. Sherwin-Williams Co.

Cleveland

216-566-2000 • www.sherwin.com

CEO/President: Christopher Connor

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $4.272 billion

Sherwin-Williams is the dominant architectural coatings producer and marketer in North America. Total sales for 2003 were $5.408 billion. It is estimated that about 79% of sales represent coatings sales, with the remainder being related products, including wall coverings, floor coverings and application supplies. With 2,943 company-owned paint stores, and branches in North and South America, the company maintains a strong position in DIY consumer and contractor sales and automotive refinishes. In addition to the main brand, "Sherwin-Williams," sold only in its paint stores, the company sells coatings under many other brand names through other outlets. In the special-purpose coatings market, the company has strong positions in industrial-maintenance coatings, auto-refinish and aerosol paints. Industrial coatings sales are made both directly and through special company-owned stores.

Top stories

Sherwin-Williams Chemical Coatings Division opened two facilities in China to serve product finishers in the Asia-Pacific region. One is a 116,000-square-foot plant complex on 10 acres in Shanghai for the manufacture of liquid and powder coatings. "Many of our North American customers, particularly in the residential furniture and plastics and electronics markets, have operations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Malaysia, China and Taiwan," said Thomas Brummett, president of Sherwin-Williams Chemical Coating Division. "We understand our customers' global objectives for locating there, and we have responded to their needs by investing in the necessary human resources, equipment and facilities to serve them."

Sherwin-Williams announced a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the stock of Duron Inc. (Beltsville, MD) in a transaction valued at $253 million plus the assumption of "certain financial obligations." Duron is a major regional architectural-coatings manufacturer, and operates 231 company-owned stores in the eastern United States. The company has annual sales of approximately $350 million. Sherwin-Williams said the sale would be completed following regulatory approval.

In April, Sherwin-Williams acquired a majority interest in Shanghai Kinlita Chemical Co. (Shanghai, China). The company supplies coatings to truck and bus makers in China, with total sales of $15 million. The company will be renamed Sherwin-Williams Kinlita and will be part of the automotive business segment of Sherwin Williams.

4. ICI Paints

Berkshire, U.K.

44 175 3550000 • www.ici.com

CEO/President: David Hamill

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $3.859 billion

ICI is a leading international coatings business with wide geographic spread. ICI specializes in architectural (91%), metal-container (8%) and miscellaneous industrial coatings (1%). The consumer decorative paint business has one of the leading market shares in most countries where they are sold. The container coating business specializes in internal and external coatings for food and beverage cans and is one of the leading suppliers. In North America, paint sales amounted to an estimated $1.621 billion. ICI has many well-known brands in the U.S. market, including Glidden, Dulux, Devoe, Fuller O'Brien and Sinclair. Glidden paints are carried at all Home Depot stores. ICI has a dominant share of the metal container interior coatings market. Total ICI corporate sales were $9.615 billion.

The MBW Z3 Roadster won enviornmental plaudits for its waterborne paints. (Photo courtesy of DuPont)

5. DuPont Coatings & Color Technologies Group

Wilmington, DE

302-774-1000 • www.dupont.com

CEO/President: Edward Donnelly, Group Vice President

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $3.575 billion

Dupont Coatings and Color Technologies Group is the world's leading automotive coatings supplier. It offers high-performance liquid and powder coatings for the automotive OEM, refinish and aftermarket, and general industrial OEM applications, as well as high-performance specialty products. DuPont is not active in the architectural coatings market, and operates in only selected industrial markets. The group is also the largest manufacturer in the world of titanium dioxide. Sales of coatings worldwide are estimated at $3.575 billion. Estimated North American sales are $1.620 billion. DuPont, the parent company, had worldwide sales of $27.0 billion.

Top stories

In August, DuPont and the Tony and Hasu Corp., a company operating in the real estate, construction and building-materials industries, signed a strategic alliance agreement to start comprehensive cooperation in architectural coatings in China. The agreement initially will focus on promoting building profile materials and color spray coatings for doors and windows. China's first polyvinyl chloride automatic production line for building profile materials and color paint sprays will be located at Tony & Hasu's subsidiary, Shangdong Hasu. The line adopts the automatic spraying technology of DuPont, which meets the demand for large-scale production.

DuPont Performance Coatings received a 2004 Automotive News Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contribution to Excellence (PACE) award for a new wet-on-wet painting system it developed with help from Ford Motor Co. The process allows vehicles to receive two enamel colors in one rather than two trips through a paint booth and oven. A conventional exterior body primer is applied to the box and upper panels of the vehicle that will be painted with the main color, while a specialized primer developed by DuPont is applied to lower sections that receive the accent color. The second primer enables the color accent coat to be applied over the wet primer with no loss of performance. The process is reported to have delivered cost savings and accelerated assembly-line output for Ford's popular F-250 and F-350 pickup trucks.

Early this year, DuPont acquired additional equity in its DuPont Red Lion joint ventures in Beijing and Changchun, China. DuPont said the moves "reinforce its position as the leading coatings supplier to the growing Chinese automotive industry." DuPont has increased its equity position in the DuPont Red Lion-Beijing joint venture to 76% from 60% and has renamed it DuPont Red Lion (Beijing) Co. Ltd. DuPont also acquired 100% ownership of its other DuPont Red Lion joint venture in Changchun by purchasing the remaining 40% interest held by Red Lion. That company will be known as DuPont Performance Coatings-Changchun.

6. BASF Coatings AG

Ludwigshafen, Germany

011 49 621 60-0 • www.basf.com

CEO/President: Klaus Peter Lobbe

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $2.538 billion

BASF is the world's leading chemical company, with products including chemicals, plastics, coatings systems, dispersions, agricultural products, fine chemicals, as well as crude oil and natural gas. Total corporate sales were $42 billion in 2003. Coatings sales include automotive OEM coatings, automotive refinish, ‘Glasurit' coatings, industrial coatings and decorative coatings in South America. North American coatings sales for 2003 were 30% of the total coatings sales, or $761 million.

Top stories

BASF Coatings expanded its coatings-manufacturing site in Tultitlan, Mexico, with the addition of plastics coatings in batches of less than 520 gallons and a facility to produce mica and aluminum dispersions. The expansion is "an important part of our project for business development in this segment and also for the reinforcement of the Tultitlan location in Mexico," the company said. In addition to automotive OEM coatings, the Mexican market offers opportunities for growth in coatings for plastics and metal.

BASF received a 2004 Automotive News Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contribution to Excellence (PACE) Award for its ColorCARE system, a software-based tool that helps ensure precise color match between new vehicle bodies and add-on parts. With help from the system's analytical software, a technician at an assembly plant can continuously monitor the color match between vehicle bodies and add-on parts, such as bumpers and mirror housings, as the units move along the line. When the system detects a deviation, further "build-out" of the vehicle can be stopped, and the cause of the color deviation can be eliminated by adjusting the paint or application process.

7. SigmaKalon Group

Netherlands

31 297 54 1700 • www.SigmaKalon.com

CEO/President: Pierre-Marie De Leener

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $2.141 billion

SigmaKalon is one of the leading worldwide providers of decorative (75% of total sales), marine and protective coatings (15%) and industrial coatings (10%). It is Europe's premier manufacturer of decorative paints, with a comprehensive range of leading brands and private-label paints. It is also a major supplier in marine and protective coatings, which are supplied worldwide. The company enjoys significant positions in the markets for joinery coatings, coil coatings, general industrial and powder coatings.

Top stories

In June, SigmaKalon announced that it had acquired Primalex from The Riverside Co., a private equity fund based in Europe and North America. Primalex is the market leader for wall paints in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and has production facilities in both countries. SigmaKalon said the acquisition shows the company's commitment to central and eastern Europe, where it holds a leading position in the Polish and Hungarian markets and strong and developing positions in Romania and the Ukraine.

Earlier in the year Samsung Fine Chemicals and SigmaKalon announced that they merged their Korean coatings operations into a joint venture company 40% owned by Samsung and 60% by SigmaKalon. SSC will be one of the leading suppliers of coatings to the Korean shipbuilding industry and be a major supplier to the protective coatings, coil coatings and general industrial coatings markets.

8. Valspar Corp.

Minneapolis

612-332-7371 • www.valspar.com

CEO/President: Richard Rompala

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $2.096 billion

The Valspar Corp., in business since 1806, is a multinational coatings manufacturer. The company is the largest supplier of wood, coil, mirror and rigid packaging coatings in the world. In North America, Valspar is the leading supplier of nonautomotive industrial coatings. The architectural, automotive and specialty product line, which includes interior and exterior decorative paints and aerosols, automotive and fleet refinish, and high-performance floor coatings, is a major supplier in North America. The company has an additional $152 million in sales in resins and colorants used internally and sold to other coatings manufacturers. About 75% of corporate sales are in the United States.

Top stories

In August, Valspar completed the purchase of selected assets of the forest products business of Associated Chemists Inc. The acquired line includes edgesealers, surface primers, paints and stains, and other products for a variety of manufacturers in the forest products industry. The transaction includes a manufacturing facility in Orangeburg, SC.

It also announced a strategic alliance with Quikrete to manufacture and market what the companies say is the first complete line of premium concrete coatings. Debuting in early 2005, the new line will be manufactured and marketed jointly by Valspar and Quikrete under the brand name Quikrete Professional Concrete Coatings, which will feature 14 products.

Earlier in the year Valspar acquired De Beer Lakfabrieken, a privately owned manufacturer of automotive-refinish coatings in the Netherlands. De Beer sells in more than 65 countries and has subsidiaries in the U.K. and Australia.

9. Nippon Paint Co. Ltd.

Osaka, Japan

81 6 64581111 • www.nipponpaint.co.jp

CEO/President: Teruyoshi Fujishima

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $1.550 billion

Nippon Paint Co., founded in 1881, is the oldest Japanese coatings company. It is one of the leading suppliers of coatings for architectural, automotive OEM and refinish, and other industrial coatings. It also has a powder coating capability. Total sales amounted to $1.646 billion in 2003. A fine chemical segment represents nearly 6% of the total sales. Nippon has overseas sales amounting to about 10% of revenues. The company has many subsidiaries. In the United States, it has five subsidiaries, one, NPA, being the former Seibert Powder coatings.

Top stories

Aiming to more aggressively promote its marine coatings business worldwide, Nippon Paint Co. Ltd. announced a plan to restructure its marine coatings company, Nippon Paint Marine Coatings Co. Ltd. Currently, Asia accounts for approximately 60% of the worldwide market for marine coatings. Moreover, more than 80% of new-building projects are carried out in Japan, Korea and China, with maintenance docks also concentrated in Asia. As a result, Nippon plans to expand its overseas business network and establish new bases in Europe, America and the Middle East, the company said, while sharpening its competitive edge in Asia. Nippon hopes to achieve sales of more than 20 billion yen by 2010.

10. Kansai Paint Co. Ltd.

Osaka, Japan

81 6 6203 5531 • www.kansai.co.jp

CEO/President: Katsuya Sera

Estimated 2003 Global Coatings Sales: $1.451 billion

Kansai Paint Co., established in 1918, is the largest paint and most advanced manufacturer in Japan, but not as large in international sales as Nippon Paint. Kansai Paint total sales amounted to $1.499 billion in 2003, with an estimated 96.8% being paint products. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of decorative paints, automotive OEM and refinish paints for Japanese-made vehicles, and metal-container coatings in Japan. Its product line is extensive in all types of coatings. Its overseas business is especially concentrated in other Asian countries. About 83% of sales are in Japan.

Top stories

PPG Industries and Kansai Paint agreed to form an alliance targeting the global automotive OEM market (see story in PPG section above). Before the announcement, DuPont Co. and Kansai agreed to terminate their automotive-coatings joint-ventures, citing "incompatible global strategies." The joint ventures were formed to supply automotive coatings to Japan-based auto companies for their operations in the United Kingdom and North America.

Editor's note:

Industrial Paint & Powder gratefully acknowledges the sales and other information contributed by Paint & Coatings Industry magazine. Other sources of information include company Web sites, press releases and financial statements.