Hempel mounting comeback outside marine sector

Paint suppliers moving on up after a few rough years

The Danish coating supply giants Hempel have endured tough times in recent years, but a new comeback strategy is set to propel them back to the top.

The Copenhagen-based company has set its sights on markets far from the marine sector that it traditionally covers. Investments into the global housing and industrial paint arena have resulted in record revenue of over 9 billion kroner and profits of over 500 million kroner.

“We need to become more professional and we haven’t been quick enough when developing with the market,” Pierre-Yves Jullien, the CEO of Hempel, told Børsen business newspaper.

“The market has changed a lot and paint has become an important fuel-saving and environmental parameter, which we took too long to realise and react to. But now we have the right products on the market to gain market shares.”

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Not just marine paint
Traditionally, the company has focused its attention on coating supplies for the marine industry, but with 27 percent of the company’s turnover, marine products are close to becoming just the company’s third largest income generator.

Part of Hempel’s strategy is to make more inroads into the Asian market, particularly in South Korea, where the company was chosen as one of two paint providers for the construction of Maersk’s massive Triple-E ships.

But Jullien underlines that ship paint will never again be Hempel’s central area of business because ship paint only takes up three percent of the global turnover on the paint market.