Economic environment and market position

The economic environment for the Adhesive Technologies business sector was characterized by strong market growth in the first six months of the year, followed by a slowdown in growth momentum in the second half of the year. Trends differed, however, between regions. The non-European emerging markets developed very well, while momentum in the mature markets in North America and Western Europe was subdued. The increase in market volume was in the low single-digit range in 2012. Private consumption remained largely stable. The global transport sector grew considerably compared to the previous year, while growth rates in the construction and packaging industries, and in general industry fell short of their previous year levels. The initial positive growth in the electronics industry weakened as the year progressed.

Market growth was primarily driven by continued strong performance in the emerging markets. Growth was boosted, in particular, by the regions of Africa/Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia (excluding Japan). The market in Western Europe declined slightly – partly as a result of the negative economic conditions in Southern Europe. By contrast, North America generated positive growth stimulus. Overall, we were able to further strengthen our leading market position in 2012.

Price increases for raw materials and packaging materials were lower overall in 2012 compared to the previous year.

Innovative technological trends that require novel adhesives and adhesive applications will continue to offer strong growth potential for our business in the future. These include the growing trend toward lightweight automotive and aircraft construction, the steadily growing use of mobile computers and communication devices, and the increasing demand for sustainable products and technologies.