AkzoNobel confirms restructure plans after PPG walks away

Published: Friday, 07 July 2017

AkzoNobel promises to re-engage with shareholders after its board of directors successfully rebuffs a string of takeover bids from US paint group PPG.

Dutch paint firm AkzoNobel reaffirmed plans to increase dividends and spin out its chemical arms, pledging to re-engage with shareholders after US paint group PPG walked away from a takeover bid.

The board of Akzo, which owns the paint brand Dulux, has rejected a string of informal offers from PPG, despite vocal support for the proposed deal from some investors and shareholders.

PPG boss Michael McGarry said on 1 June the firm had received no response from Akzo following its latest bid.

"As a result, we believe it is in the best interests of PPG and its shareholders to withdraw our proposal to AkzoNobel," he said.

Dutch stock market rules mean that PPG now cannot make another offer for Akzo for the next six months.

PPG’s latest bid for Akzo, made in late April, valued the European paint company at €26.9bn (£22.8bn).

Rebel shareholders

Akzo rejected this offer as it had two previous versions, saying it undervalued the company and accusing PPG of a "lack of cultural understanding of the brand".

In the wake of PPG’s withdrawal, Akzo pledged instead to push on with its own plans to reward shareholders.

In April, Akzo put forward an alternative plan to the merger, promising to give shareholders €1.6bn.

It also said it would spin off its chemicals subsidiary, which represents a third of sales and profits.

Prospects for the deal were dealt a blow last week by a legal defeat for pro-takeover investors.
A Dutch court ruled that Akzo did not have to hold an extraordinary shareholder meeting, as had been requested by a group of investors including Elliot Management.

On 2 June, Akzo pledged to "intensify dialogue" with the rebel shareholders.

The company pleged a "programme to actively solicit the views of shareholders, including those who have recently challenged the company", promising "further insight into its strategy and decisions in respect of PPG’s proposals".