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AkzoNobel to sell chemicals arm for 10.1b euros to Carlyle, GIC

The world's leading paintmaker, which owns brands such as Dulux and Trimetal, says this is part of plans to boost the firm

The Hague

DUTCH multinational giant AkzoNobel announced on Tuesday it was selling its chemicals arm to US-based investors Carlyle Group and Singapore's GIC for 10.1 billion euros (S$16.39 billion), as part of its strategy to bolster the company.

"AkzoNobel today announces the sale of 100 per cent of its speciality chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC for an enterprise value of 10.1 billion euros... as part of its strategy announced in April 2017," it said in a statement.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, and the Dutch company said it considered the move "in the best interests of AkzoNobel, Specialty Chemicals and its respective stakeholders, including employees, shareholders and customers".

The world's leading paintmaker, which owns brands such as Dulux and Trimetal, said last year it was splitting off its chemicals arm as it fended off an increasingly hostile takeover bid by US-based rival PPG.

After making three offers, PPG eventually dropped its efforts in mid-2017, which would have valued the Dutch company at 26.9 billion euros. The hostile move was led by US activist investor group Elliott Advisors, which finally agreed to bury the hatchet in August after losing one court case.

In November, AkzoNobel announced that merger talks with another US company, Axalta, had been ditched, after the two failed to reach an agreement.

Year-end figures released in March showed AkzoNobel's 2017 sales were up 3.0 per cent on the previous year to 14.6 billion euros. But profits dipped 14 per cent to 832 million euros compared to 970 million euros in 2016.

Formed in 1994 from the merger of the Dutch and Swedish firms Akzo and Nobel, AkzoNobel has a 45,000-strong workforce and operates in about 80 countries around the world.

Based in Washington DC, the Carlyle Group is one of the world's largest asset investment management groups, with US$178 billion of assets. Singapore's GIC is a sovereign wealth fund established by the Singaporean government in 1981 to manage the city-state's foreign reserves. AFP