Paints and coatings group AkzoNobel which is seeking to ward off a hostile takeover bid by US rival PPG Industries has sidestepped a move to put the matter up for discussion at a future extraordinary general meeting. On Tuesday the troubled Dutch group said the EGM would take place on 8 September, 45 days from now. And since the agenda is closed 60 days before the meeting takes place AkzoNobel has prevented hostile shareholders from placing items on the agenda, the Financieele Dagblad said.
US-based hedge fund Elliott Advisors is AkzoNobel’s single largest shareholder with a 9.5% stake in the company. Elliott has launched a series of lawsuits challenging AkzoNobel on several fronts and is seen as working to soften up the Dutch company for the kill by PPG Industries toward the end of the year. However several points raised by Elliott are on the agenda for the 8 September EGM. These include the appointment of Thierry Vanlancker as CEO and a discussion over AkzoNobel’s refusal to even discuss PPG’s three bids for the company starting in March. The highest bid by the Americans valued the company at €26.3bn.
Supervisory board Elliott had also been seeking to oust AkzoNobel supervisory board chairman Antony Burgmans who is now due to retire at the time of the company’s AGM next April. Last week, Ton Büchner stepped down as AkzoNobel CEO, citing health reasons. He was replaced by Vanlancker, who had been brought in to the company to prepare for the divestment of the specialty chemicals division.
The Amsterdam company also announced the creation of a supervisory board committee for shareholder relations. Also on Tuesday, AkzoNobel said its core profit in the second quarter fell 6 % to €461m, due to weak demand in various markets and higher raw material costs. AkzoNobel reaffirmed its promise of better results, made when it rejected the bid by PPG earlier this year, a move which drew strong criticism from major shareholders.
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