The Jotun group generated sales of NOK
2,039 million in the first four months of 2003 which is NOK 244 million
more than for the same period in 2003. The group generated a profit on
operating profit before tax of NOK 228 million compared to NOK 185 million
last year. Sales measured in volume have increased and the strong currency
fluctuations of recent years have moderated so that sales measured in NOK
more closely reflected the group's growth.
Profit in 2003 was one of the biggest in Jotun's history. The first four
months of 2004 showed continued improvement but profit development for the
rest of the year is uncertain, primarily due to the increase in raw
materials and reduced margins. Jotun predicts that income for 2004 in
total can be maintained at a satisfactory level and similar to last year.
Jotun Paints continued to see strong growth
in demand for decorative products in the
Middle East and South-East Asia. In the Middle East profits for all the
companies were higher than the previous year.
Competition from local players and international paint companies increased
in the Middle East. Jotun has been especially successful with multi-color
systems for mixing colors in stores. Increasing numbers of our
international and local competitors are strengthening their efforts in
Jotun Coatings increased sales, but profits were lower than for the same period last
year. A relatively strong increase in raw material prices had a particular
influence on the division's profit. Work is being carried out to increase
prices in line with the increase in raw material prices, but this takes
time and will not give rapid financial results.
The downturn for marine paints in the Norwegian market continued, while
protective coatings to industry and offshore saw progress in Sweden and
Norway. In Europe activity varied. There was strong growth in China, and
in the USA sales increased.