Companies headquartered in North America increased sales by 11% to €14,727 million compared with the previous year. In local currency terms, sales rose by 17%. Sales exceeded the previous year’s levels in nearly all segments. In the Performance Products segment, this was mainly driven by the full-year inclusion of the acquired Cognis businesses. Higher prices in particular led to sales growth in the Chemicals, Plastics and Functional Solutions segments. By contrast, sales declined in the Agricultural Solutions segment, primarily as a result of negative currency effects.
We posted record income from operations, which rose by €207 million to €1,314 million thanks mainly to higher prices. Increased raw material costs could largely be passed on through our sales prices. The Chemicals, Plastics and Functional Solutions segments especially contributed to this increase in earnings. In the Performance Products segment, earnings declined due to high special items from restructuring our paper business as well as to expenses related to the Cognis integration. Earnings in the Agricultural Solutions segment were above the previous year’s level.
In 2011, we started up a methylamines plant at our Verbund site in Geismar, Louisiana. The construction of our cathode materials plant in Elyria, Ohio, is proceeding on schedule and we aim to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2012. These cathode materials will be used in lithium-ion batteries in hybrid and electric cars. The new plant and our research at the site in Beachwood, Ohio, are steps in the implementation of our North America strategy to enter the future market in electric mobility.
In 2011, we made significant progress in implementing our regional strategy for North America. This strategy focuses on even stronger market and customer orientation. We concentrate on innovation, cross-sector initiatives and attractive customer and market segments. At the same time, we are increasing our operational excellence through ongoing improvements, which include harmonizing our business processes worldwide and improving their efficiency.