Wall Street Transcript Interview with James J. Owens, the President and CEO of H.B. Fuller Company (FUL)

Wall Street Transcript

67 WALL STREET, New York - July 21, 2014 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Agriculture & Specialty Chemicals Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs and Equity Analysts. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

Topics covered: Chemicals Companies Pricing Power - Emerging Market Demand - Specialty Chemicals and Fertilizer Pricing Power - Raw Material Costs - Potash, Nitrogen and Phosphate Markets

Companies include: HB Fuller Co. (FUL) and many more.

In the following excerpt from the Agriculture & Specialty Chemicals Report, the President and CEO of H.B. Fuller Company (FUL) discusses company strategy and the outlook for this vital industry:

TWST: You closed one of your European production sites in May. Can you tell us about the factors that contributed to that decision? And, how would you characterize your strategy in Europe at this point?

Mr. Owens: In 2012, we purchased Forbo's industrial adhesives business; as part of that acquisition, there were $50 million in identified synergies that added to a transformation project we already had going on in Europe. So combined, these projects were enabling us to move the company's EBITDA margins to 15% from where they had been historically around 10% or 11%, and this most recent plant closure is an important milestone in that process. It's the third of five facilities that are being closed in Europe, and there are two more that will be closed here in the third quarter.

So fundamentally changing how we run our businesses is a very important part of our strategic investment in Europe that's enabling us to drive the profit improvement performance that we expect. It allows us to raise profit performance in Europe to levels similar to North America and also similar to some external benchmarks. So it's a very important strategic move for us.

As far as Europe is concerned, the core markets are relatively flat. In the emerging parts of Europe, in the Middle East, Northern Africa and India, which is part of our EIMEA group, we see generally positive economic growth, and more important for us, we see the opportunity to grow our market share in those countries. We have some pockets of those regions where we're under-represented, and our ability to grow in the EIMEA region is significant once we are through this transformation.

TWST: You just signed an agreement to purchase Tonsan Adhesive in China. Tell us a bit about that transaction and how it fits into your overall growth strategy.

For more of this interview and many others visit the Wall Street Transcript - a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs, portfolio managers and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

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