Speaking to SuperyachtNews.com prior to publication of the financial report, Andrew Wood, performance and coatings communications and media relations at AkzoNobel, clarified questions surrounding the new structure that was implemented in Q4 of 2014 and throughout Q1 of 2015. “Originally, performance coatings was set up with four business units and 12 sub-business units. We got rid of the four business units, so there were some job losses at that management layer, and we restructured the remaining 12 sub-business units, of which yachts was one, into seven strategic market units.” Wood was keen to assure that the effect on the yacht segment would have been minimal, adding, “It was a reorganisation that affected all of the performance coatings business, of which yachts is only a very small part.”
AkzoNobel’s financial round-up for 2014 (which can be downloaded here) revealed the paint manufacturer’s 2014 revenue was down two per cent on the previous year, but there was slightly more positive news for the performance coatings division. While full-year revenue was flat, which AkzoNobel has attributed to adverse currencies, volumes were up one per cent due to growth from marine and protective coatings.
The marine and protective coatings segment saw a growth of two per cent for full-year revenue compared to 2013. Part of this success has been attributed to the reorganisation of the Performance Coatings sector of AkzoNobel in the report, which states: “The benefit of earlier restructuring and ongoing operational effectiveness more than offset the increase in restructuring costs. As a result, operational income increased four per cent compared with 2013.”
The same quarter of 2014 that saw the restructuring begin – Q4 – also saw an eight per cent rise in revenue which, according to the report, was, “due to a pick-up in marine new-build activity in China and South Korea, along with volume growth in protective coatings”.
The performance coatings division of AkzoNobel, then, has had a more positive start to 2015 than what was perhaps expected amid concerns about the restructuring.
Moreover, in late February AkzoNobel announced a warranty upgrade for its Yacht Coatings customers, extending coverage to 18 months for its Awlgrip, International and Interlux premium yacht paint systems.
Chris Toole, superyacht and professional segment manager at AkzoNobel,explained:
“To reflect the performance advances we’ve achieved in our premium ranges, we are upgrading our warranty programme to cover more for longer. We are able to offer the improved warranty with confidence because of the care we take in the development and production processes to ensure that every tin of paint we manufacture is formulated using the highest quality standards and best performing ingredients in the industry.”
SuperaychtNews.com asked if the warranty upgrade was a way of maintaining consumer satisfaction in light of the restructuring process, but Vincent van der Laan, speciality coatings marketing at AkzoNobel, confirmed, “It’s completely unrelated.”