We have an eventful year 2017 behind us and not it is time to sum up the highlights of the past year and have a look at the future.
In 2017 we had four group level focus areas: growth, continuous improvement, process harmonization and communication.
From the growth point of view we did extremely well as our revenue grew from 307 M€ to 384 M€ which is more than 25 % growth compared to 2016. Most of the growth came from the acquisition of Arbonia AG's global wood coatings division Feyco Treffert, but also from the organic growth and acquisition of Śnieżka's powder coating business in Poland. The acquisitions extended our product and service portfolio and opened new markets, such as Malaysia, USA and Switzerland. At the end of 2017 we employed approximately 1800 people in three continents and 24 countries.
Raw materials were a challenge for us in 2017. Huntsman's factory in Pori burned in January 2017 and it caused a shortage of TiO2. Our procurement and R & D did great job in finding new solutions, but still the shortage had some impact to our delivery times to our customers. The prices of raw materials increased throughout the year more than 10% and it naturally impacted in our profitability.
We opened our new training center Gallus in Rajamäki, Finland at the end of August 2017. This has enabled opportunities for our customers, partners and own people in increasing the opportunities of product knowledge, service level and understanding on new opportunities. It was clear to us that there is a need for a modern and advanced coatings training and testing center in Finland, but still the popularity of Gallus surprised us. By the end of the year 2017 we had had approximately 1400 visitors in Gallus and more than 400 customers trained there. All trainings are custom made for our customers' and other peer groups' specific needs and we welcome all of you to Gallus.
In 2017 process harmonization was, and still is, one of our top priorities. In recent years we have acquired several small and mid-size coatings companies and while implementing these to Teknos Group, the focus was in ensuring the operations and services to our customers, not in our internal ways of working. To improve our effectiveness and to be able to guarantee the same service level to all our customers world-wide with a wider product portfolio. We are currently building up and organizing user trainings for the new global customer relationship management system, implementing the new human capital system to the new entities, harmonizing supply chain processes and renewing our key account management and innovation processes. We systematically train our people on different organization levels, evaluate and develop our product range and seek for innovations.
At the end of 2016 we did a brand awareness survey and the results revealed that Teknos is a reliable partner with good quality products and services, but as a company we are not well known globally. Based on these results our brand renewal project has been the base to our strategy renewal work. During 2017 we freshened up our visual identity elements, defined our new brand promise and updated our vision: Teknos is a Sustainable coatings solution provider close to customers. Providing coatings solutions is our core business, we serve our customers locally even though we are a global company. Our responsibility as a family company towards all our peer groups is to take sustainability as a base assumption in all our actions. We have taken the steps on the path towards more sustainable Teknos but many more will be taken in the following years.
This was a short glimpse to our year 2017 and the focus has already turned to 2018. This year we will define our strategy for the next strategy period until 2025 and celebrate our 70th anniversary. We will continue our persistent work in improving the customer experience, seeking for innovations, profitable growth, continuously improve ourselves and concentrate on the sustainability as our core.
Chief Executive Officer