Dutch chemicals company AkzoNobel, in its bid to fend off a hostile takeover proposal from Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries, has outlined a new strategy to accelerate growth and value creation with two focused, high-performing businesses - paints
& coatings and specialty chemicals.
The company has put in place project teams to carry out separation of specialty chemicals
business within 12 months. The vast majority of net proceeds from the separation of specialty chemicals
will be returned to shareholders, with € 1 billion to be paid as special dividend in November - reflecting confidence in the planned separation.
“The industry-leading performance and outlook of our specialty chemicals
business gives us the confidence to return proceeds to shareholders in advance of the separation. In addition, we see extensive growth momentum in our paints
and coatings business, which we expect to keep growing faster than market rates, allowing us to improve our long-term financial guidance. Now is the right time to create two focused, high-performing businesses. This strategy will create substantial value for shareholders with significant less risks and uncertainties compared to alternatives,” explained Ton Buchner, CEO of AkzoNobel.
In addition, the company will invest €1 billion in research and development by 2020 to maintain focus on innovation and new product development. It has also announced its intention of continued commitment to sustainability with ambition to use 100-percent renewable energy and be carbon neutral by 2050.
“Our ongoing commitment to invest around € 1 billion in R&D by 2020 will create innovative products and services, as well as making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate. We have laid out a new plan today with clear, ambitious goals. With the support of our colleagues across the world and building on our incredible brands, we will create two leading, customer focused businesses which will deliver enhanced value for all our stakeholders,” Buchner added.