Dutch coatings specialist says recent acquisitions will help accelerate momentum

Akzo Nobel CEO Thierry Vanlancker

AkzoNobel CEO Thierry Vanlancker describes 2018 as a “landmark year”

AkzoNobel NV, the Dutch-based multinational maker of decorative paints and performance coatings, has reported mixed 2018 results due to adverse currency movements, pricier raw materials and lower volumes.

It put 2018 operating income at €798m, down from €905m in 2017.

Yet CEO Thierry Vanlancker called 2018 “a landmark year” for AkzoNobel, highlighted by the sale of its Specialty Chemicals division for €10.1bn to Carlyle Group and Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund.

The sale generated a net profit of €5.8bn. It was part of AkzoNobel’s defense against a €26bn takeover bid in 2017 from US rival PPG Industries.

Yet CEO Thierry Vanlancker called 2018 “a landmark year” for AkzoNobel, highlighted by the sale of its Specialty Chemicals division for €10.1bn to Carlyle Group and Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund.

The sale generated a net profit of €5.8bn. It was part of AkzoNobel’s defense against a €26bn takeover bid in 2017 from US rival PPG Industries.

“We’re now a focused paints and coatings company and are channeling all our experience, energy and passion into being recognized as the reference in our industry,” said Vanlancker.

Through its Performance Coatings segment, AkzoNobel is a significant supplier to the global boat and yacht sectors. Its key brands include Coral, Flexa, Sadolin, Sikkens, Awlgrip, International and Interpon.

In a 2018 results report, Vanlancker said “despite strong headwinds” AkzoNobel made good progress in increasing its return on sales (+ 10.6% in the 2nd half of 2018, up from 9.2% in the same 2017 period). ROS reflects profit is produced per dollar of sales.

“We’re now a focused paints and coatings company,” Vanlancker said. “We continue to invest in growth.”

In 2018, AkzoNobel made several acquisitions, including Fabryo (Romania), Xylazel (Spain) and Colourland Paints (Malaysia) and the AkzoNobel Swire Paints joint venture (China). “These deals will help accelerate our momentum as we continue to build AkzoNobel into an industry leader,” said Vanlancker.

AkzoNobel is bullish on its newly introduced Paint the Future challenge, an outreach to startups. AkzoNobel uses it to leverage its scale and expertise with “ingenious solutions of startups and scale-ups” in the paints coatings sector to make the company a reference in innovation.