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Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Conference in Florida, Gupta said, "We have a more profitable portfolio of products, focused on delivering customers' needs in the fastest growing markets we serve, and we're putting significant investment in areas that will improve our ability to deliver new technology to our customers."
Gupta noted that the company expects to spend approximately $250 million for research and development in 2002, an approximately 10% increase over the last year, with a focus on products aimed at several key markets including coatings, electronics and adhesives. The increased investment and innovation focus has resulted in an almost two-fold increase in the number of patent applications in the past several years.
The chairman also reported that the company is remaining focused on operational efficiency, with good progress on the company's efforts to reduce the overall cost structure of the organization. Gupta noted that cost reductions made by the end of the first quarter have lowered the company's run rate by approximately $150 million, and the goal to achieve a $200 million lower run rate by October 2002 is on track.