This excerpt taken from the ICI 6-K filed Aug 11, 2005.
The following commentaries on the four geographical regions where Decorative Paints operates and on the Packaging Coatings business refer to performance measured on a comparable basis.
Decorative Europe sales for the first half were slightly below last year, with lower volumes due to weakness in retail markets offsetting the benefits of increased selling prices. As a result of higher raw material and transport costs, and weaker product mix in the second quarter, gross margin percentages were below last year. Despite good control of costs below gross margin, trading profit was slightly below 2004.
For Decorative North America, sales were 4% above the first half of last year, with growth in the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico. Higher raw material and transport costs were only partially offset by increased sales prices, and in combination with a weaker product mix, gross margin percentages were below last year. Despite costs below gross margin being less than 2004, trading profit was well below last year.
Decorative Asia continued to deliver strong sales growth and was 22% ahead of the first half of 2004. Growth in China, India and Pakistan was particularly notable. Trading profit was significantly ahead.
Decorative Latin America also delivered good growth. Sales were 13% ahead of the first half of last year, with sales volumes in Argentina and Uruguay well ahead, and a positive impact from price increases to recover increased raw material costs. Trading profit was significantly ahead.
Sales for the Packaging Coatings business were 13% above the first half of 2004. There was strong growth in all regions, with increased selling prices offsetting higher raw material costs. With costs below gross margin less than the first half of 2004, trading profit was well ahead of last year.