2012 was a year of change for Kemira. Since I assumed the responsibility as the CEO of Kemira, my most evident key priorities for Kemira going forward have been: improving profitability, accelerating growth in Asia and South America without sacrificing business opportunities in the mature markets and sharpening the strategy. In 2012, we initiated projects in all three focus areas.
The second quarter results underlined the fact that we needed to take actions in order to ensure sustainable profitability and competitive strength for Kemira. On July 26, 2012 we launched our restructuring program Fit for Growth to increase the efficiency of the company and, at the same time, to simplify the structure of the company. With Fit for Growth, we are aiming to reduce our annual operating expenses by EUR 60 million, which we aim to reach in 2014. The restructuring required the rebalancing of our asset footprint and, unfortunately, also a workforce balancing. From the CEO’s point of view, reducing workforce is always a tough decision to take. However, Fit for Growth is fundamental for Kemira’s growth, and growth is the key enabler for a successful future.
Kemira’s new organization has been put in place and is operational since October 1, 2012. It is based on regional business units, enabling us to be in closer interaction with our customers. The business responsibility is now delegated into different regions, and within the regions we have clarified the employees’ roles and responsibilities in order for each employee to clearly understand their respective roles in fostering the company’s success. The rationale behind the organizational change was to make the organization more proactive and more agile, but at the same time to decentralize the organization in a way that business decisions can be taken closer to the customers.
In 2012, we also started to sharpen our strategy, putting even stronger emphasis on water quality and quantity management. We see our role as one of helping companies and municipalities to either reduce the water consumption or improve the energy and raw material efficiency in water intensive processes.