AkzoNobel shareholders support separation of Specialty Chemicals business

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AkzoNobel NV shareholders have approved the separation of the Dutch company’s Specialty Chemicals operations, as part of its strategy to create two focused businesses of Paints & Coatings and Specialty Business.

The decision was made during a 30 Nov extraordinary general meeting (EGM), where the shareholders also approved the appointment of new chief financial officer (CFO) Maarten de Vries as a member of the board of management, effective 1 Jan 2018.

In addition, the board endorsed the appointment of three new members to the AkzoNobel supervisory board: Sue Clark, Patrick Thomas, and Michiel Jaski.

With the nod from shareholders, AkzoNobel can now separate its Specialty Chemicals business through a private sale or legal demerger.

The Dutch chemicals company announced its new strategy in April, drawn up amid a €24.6bn takeover offer by the US speciality company PPG, which the company turned down later that month.

This new plan involves the separation of Specialty Chemicals unit into a new business unit, which will subsequently be divested “within 12 months”.

The proposed strategy also pledged to give €1bn special dividend to shareholders in November, “reflecting confidence in the planned separation.”

During the 30 Nov EGM, Akzonobel confirmed the payment, saying the special dividend would be paid on 7 Dec.

Under the new structure, the company will either list the Specialty Chemicals unit as a separate entity or sell it and focus on Paints & Coatings business with “fit-for-purpose” structure and processes”.

The speciality chemicals unit, which had a €4.8bn revenue in 2016 makes ingredients for products including plastics, detergents and pharmaceuticals.

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