Akzo Nobel unveils plan to separate chemicals arm, pay special dividend
The split is a direct result of the pressure from USA rival PPG Industries, which offered to take over the Dutch company for 22.4 billion euros (24 billion US dollars) in March this year.
Among the criticisms was that Akzo had yet to fully engage with PPG, and was therefore in not position to know what value could be created.
But AkzoNobel said the board still "strongly supports" Burgmans, adding his removal "would be irresponsible, disproportionate, damaging and not in the best interest of the company, its shareholders and other stakeholders".
However, PPG countered by saying that its proposal would provide shareholders with an immediate cash payout that far exceeds Akzo's proposal.
Analysts have valued the chemicals division at roughly worth 8 billion euros, based on its 2016 operating profit of 629 million euros.
In a similar strategy to butter up shareholders, Unilever earlier this month said it would sell off its margarine division to spread the profits among investors.
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"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".
But the move failed to quell rebel shareholder Elliott, which is run by 72-year-old billionaire Paul Singer and has a track record of aggressively pushing for takeovers in a bid to maximise profits on its stakes in companies. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Akzo Nobel from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $25.00 target price for the company in a research report on Wednesday, February 8th. "This strategy will create substantial value for shareholders with significant less risks and uncertainties compared to alternatives".
But on Wednesday, AkzoNobel said its plan to split itself into two units - one focused on paints and the other on specialty chemicals - would boost growth.
AzkoNobel also said it plans to make 150 million euros in savings through improving efficiency, with another 50 million euros savings from the separation of the chemicals division.
The Dutch company, which employs around 46,000 people, declined comment on possible job losses resulting from its plans. He also said Akzo Nobel's new plan might allow for smaller bolt-on acquisitions, although bigger deals would be excluded in the short term., Akzo Nobel reported better-than-expected results in the first quarter.
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