AkzoNobel issues profit warning, CFO takes sick leave on day of EGM

Sikkens paint cans at AkzoNobel Sassenheim production facility. Photo: AkzoNobel

Besieged paints and coatings and specialty chemicals group AkzoNobel announced on Friday that its chief financial officer Maëlys Castella has taken a leave of absence due to health reasons.

The announcement comes just weeks after Akzo’s chief executive officer Ton Büchner permanently left the company for the same reason. It also coincided with AkzoNobel’s extraordinary general meeting called to confirm the appointment of Thierry Vanlancke as Büchner’s replacement.

AkzoNobel also issued a profit warning on Friday, stating that although net profit will be up on 2016, the company will not make the forecast €100m increase.

‘Steps already taken, including increased selling prices and additional cost control measures, are expected to enable AkzoNobel to deliver EBIT for 2017 higher than 2016 although by less than the previously communicated increase of €100m,’ the company said.

Hostile bid

The EGM is expected to be highly charged as the Amsterdam company fends off attempts by US rival PPG Industries to make a hostile bid for Akzo. Akzo’s biggest shareholder Elliott Consultants is steering the takeover attempt.

PPG began its quest with a series of bids – reaching €26.9bn – which started in early March. A truce was later called until the EGM.

Akzo controller Hans de Vriese has been named interim CFO. Castella is expected to return to the company in a senior management role after her recovery, Akzo said in a press release on Friday, which added that her absence is unconnected with the pressure of the job.

De Vriese joined AkzoNobel in 2009, initially as corporate director control, before taking over as group controller in 2015.