13 April 2022
Read what our CEO Christophe Sabas had to say in the Coatings World: 2022 CEO Forum
1. How did the market for paints and coatings fare overall in 2021?
In 2021, business at Beckers was strong and back to pre-covid levels across markets. Coil Coating is our main driver of growth, while we also see good developments in industrial coatings.
The tension on the supply chain hurt the paint industry significantly. We have had to deal with an unprecedented and exceptional raw material shortage and rising prices. To maintain continuity of supply and to mitigate cost impacts, while ensuring that our products continue to meet the quality and performance standards required, our Procurement and R&D teams have successfully implemented system changes in several countries. Nonetheless, we have also had to pass on part of the additional raw material costs. It proved key to stay close to and be fully transparent with our customers so that we can jointly find a way to remain competitive in these challenging times.
2. Have you seen an improvement in business as the pandemic seems to be coming to an end?
We have seen a significant improvement, which, however, was not correlated to a pandemic slowdown. The industry learnt how to live with Covid-19. Remote working, safety measures, distance rules were key to creating the conditions for improvement. Vaccinations helped to protect our people, and these factors contributed to the increase in business.
3. What areas of the paint and coatings market represent the most growth opportunities for your company?
Sustainability is the key growth driver. Our new Beckers Sustainability Index (BSI) enables us to verify the environmental impact of our products, and we are using it to continuously improve the sustainability performance of our products. The BSI is driving our product development processes to make our existing and new products more sustainable. In Industrial Coatings, our focus is on water-borne coatings, and in Coil Coatings we will be the first to launch Radiation Curing technology on the market this year.
We will also leverage new markets. In Coil Coatings, this includes technologies for the Domestic Appliances market, for High Durability products, and for the Core Plate Varnishes market, helping the e-mobility industry by enabling electric motor innovation and efficiency. In Industrial Coatings, we are developing new solutions for the Consumer Design Finishes market.
4. What is your business strategy for growth in 2022 and beyond?
Beckers has the ambition to develop new sustainable solutions and to grow in its core business, Coil Coatings. The strategy is to create value for both our customers and Beckers. We want to accompany our customers on their sustainable journey. For this, we are investing in Innovation and R&D. We will certainly also develop new marketing capabilities.
Regarding Industrial Coatings, the ambition is to grow in ACE (Agricultural, Construction and Earth moving equipment) and CDF (Consumer Design Finishes).
We put a special focus on China and some other countries in Asia. Nonetheless, we will remain active in Europe and Americas.
5. In what areas are you focusing your R&D efforts?
We drive our Sustainability Strategy through innovation. We have committed to 100% of new R&D products being net-sustainable by 2030. To achieve this goal, we have created a new global R&D organization and a global Innovation Governance structure.
Our developmental R&D efforts are focused on promoting a more sustainable and circular coatings industry by shifting to water-based, bio-based and recycled raw materials that can be used and re-used.
At Beckers, we are stepping up our work with steel and aluminum coil coating customers to help them to decarbonize their operations in a new holistic approach that includes upgrading our Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) capabilities and breakthrough technologies that reduce the carbon emissions of coatings, for example radiation ultraviolet or electron beam curing.
We are also looking beyond our immediate coil coater customers to understand what end users in the value chain need to stimulate demand for our products. A product example of how Beckers meets end-user demands is its Beckry®Therm roof coating, which reduces heat absorption on building roofs and reduces indoor temperatures by up to 10°C in warm weather.
6. What is your company's long-term plans?
We have completed our senior leadership team with the appointments of a CTO, a COO and a President for Northern Europe & Americas as we look to the future and towards becoming the most sustainable coatings company in the world.
Our long-term view is one of sustained growth, balanced with value created for people and the planet. We are excited about implementing a new value creation model pioneered by our owner, Lindéngruppen, for measuring this overall value of what we do at Beckers. We will be using an impact weighted metrics applied across our People, Products and Operations streams to make business decisions in the future.