Coatings companies clash over takeover
Watching paint dry is not the most interesting thing to do, but observing the battle between two of the shipping industry’s biggest coatings companies is now getting quite interesting. US-based PPG has already had two bids for Akzo Nobel turned down but it is not giving up and according to reports in the financial press, PPG believes that almost all of Akzo’s largest shareholders are eager for the takeover to go ahead. After discussions with the shareholders. PPG said it intends to make a formal bid for Akzo even after Europe’s largest coatings company refused to enter talks. The US company’s most recent bid was valued at about $24 billion. Akzo has argued that the sum offered is too low and would lead to job cuts. In an attempt to fight off the bid, Akzo said in March it was prepared to spin off its speciality chemicals division to ‘release value’ for stockholders but that has not yet happened. Analysts believe that PPG will make a new bid within the next two months but are unsure if it will be increased in value or be made unconditional given the support the US company believes it has from Akzo’s shareholders. Akzo Chairman Antony Burgmans, is of the opinion that gaining antitrust approval from the EU for a PPG takeover would be drawn out and complicated by political opposition in the Netherlands. Under Dutch law, PPG has until the end of today to indicate whether it would submit an offer document or walk away for six months. The two companies have a combined share in the wider coatings business of over 21% and a similar if not larger share in marine coatings. It is not known whether any takeover would result in fewer product offerings in the marine coating sector. Akzo Nobel is also involved in the development of Quadrise International’s emulsified fuel product MSAR.