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Ferro Corporation’s (FOE) Materials Facilitate Performance

You know, when your sales for 2007 are $2.2 billion, that you’re doing something right. That’s the case for Cleveland, Ohio-based Ferro Corporation, which garnered those kinds of numbers last year. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Ferro is a worldwide supplier of technology-based performance materials for manufacturers. They are part of the Specialty Chemical industry and manufacture and sell their products in over 100 countries through the efforts of approximately 6,300 employees.

Ferro’s materials enhance the performance of products in diverse end-market applications. These are electronics, solar energy, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, building and renovation, appliances, automotive, household furnishings, and industrial products, among others. The company operates a variety of businesses.

Their Electronic Material Systems segment develops, manufactures, and markets high-purity powders, pastes, and tapes for many electronic applications. Their Color & Glass Performance Materials business supplies glass colors and coatings for automotive, flat, and container glass in the global market. Ferro’s Pharmaceuticals & Fine Chemicals division produces high-value fine chemicals and intermediates. They are for various pharmaceutical, electronic, and chemical industrial applications. Ferro specializes in supercritical fluid technology and process engineering and they are qualified for multidisciplinary research in pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical technology.

Ferro’s Polymer Additives segment provides products that improve the characteristics of, or the processing of, plastics. Products from this division include heat and light stabilizers, plasticizers, and lubricants. Ferro’s Porcelain Enamel business is one of the world’s largest suppliers of porcelain enamel used for protecting cookware, small and large appliances, sanitary-ware, water heaters, and building panels. In fact, in 1932, Ferro produced the first all-porcelain enamel home in South Euclid, Ohio.

The company’s Specialty Plastics business produces filled and reinforced plastics, liquid coatings and dispersions, plastic colorants, and advanced polymer alloys. The company’s Tile Coating Systems operation is the world’s leading supplier of ceramic glaze coatings, and is a major supplier of ceramic color. The major market for this division is the ceramic floor and wall tile industry.

Last November, Ferro began work on a 177,604-square-foot facility in Suzhou, China, where they will make aluminum pastes for the Asia solar cell manufacturing market. Last September Ferro commissioned their newly constructed tile color plant in Castellon, Spain. The plant includes approximately 129,000 square feet for production, quality control, and supporting laboratory facilities. Ferro will use the facility for making glaze and body stain product lines for the European tile market. Ferro has produced ceramic tile color products in Castellon for 42 years.

In 2007, Ferro’s Porcelain Enamel business launched RealEase®, a porcelain enamel hybrid nonstick coating for cookware, and AquaRealEase™, a patented porcelain enamel coatings for energy-efficient self-cleaning ovens. They also introduced Evolution™ performance enamel, an appliance finish substitute for stainless steel, copper, and other high-cost metals. This product is highly durable, and scratch and fingerprint resistant. Evolution™ received recognition for materials innovation by Finishing Today magazine in their 2007 Innovation Awards.

Ferro Corporation continues to produce innovative and varied products. Their products continue to enhance other companies’ products, and Ferro’s materials are part of many products we use every day. It is the wide applications of their materials that give value to Ferro’s shareholders each year.

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