As usual, our press release and the accompanying information slide deck were published at 7 a.m. CET this morning. More documents are now available for download from our Investor Relations website. We will also make available a full transcript of this conference call on the Investor Relations website by tomorrow morning at the latest.
With that, let me hand over the call to Frans to start proceedings for the day.
François Adrianus van Houten
Thanks, Abhijit. Welcome, and thank you all for joining us today for our second quarter 2012 earnings conference call. The improved results in the second quarter are encouraging and important proof that our multiyear change and performance improvement program, Accelerate!, continues to positively impact our business. I am pleased with the response of our people and organization to this major and fundamental transformation of our company.In a relatively short period of time, we have started a large number of initiatives to redirect resources to those businesses and geographies that have strong growth and profit potential, and we have taken out cost in other areas. We have begun to rebuild our value chain to make it leaner, faster and more effective to speed up time to market, to use less working capital, and above all, to improve customer service. We are redefining our company culture to make it agile and entrepreneurial, where people take ownership, are eager to win and where they team up across geographies and businesses to excel. We have made significant management changes in the top 200 positions in the company with new leaders from both inside and outside the company, which is positively impacting cultural change. We continue to attack our cost structure and are ahead of plan with our EUR 800 million cost savings program that we have targeted the overhead structure of the company in areas like IT, finance, HR, real estate and by leaning out management layers and organization structures. The design of this program is different from other programs since it focuses on overhead layers and fundamentally changing our ways of working, which means that when these costs are removed, they will not come back, despite top line growth. We have removed EUR 176 million of cost cumulatively until the end of the second quarter. We have also invested about EUR 34 million in various initiatives that enabled these fundamental cost reductions in the second quarter of 2012.
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