Hans Wijers, the boss of Dutch paint and chemicals giant Akzo Nobel, is a clever man. He was recently voted one of the top five CEOs in the Netherlands. The former economic affairs minister, it now appears, is also a shrewd deal maker.
Last year, he sold Organon, Akzo’s pharmaceutical arm, to US group Schering-Plough for $16bn.
The US company announced yesterday that it had lopped $4bn off the book value of Organon in connection with the R&D activities of the former Dutch company. As a result Scheringh-Plough posted a loss of $3.3bn in the fourth quarter.
Schering-Plough says the transaction was purely a technical accounting move due to the different rules for valuing such activities in Europe and America.
But insiders doubt this explanation, saying that either the US parent has not got the money to finance the research activities properly or it intends to reorganise Organon which is reputed to have a lot of slack among its personnel.
Wijers has not commented on the news and why should he. His company has $16bn in its koffers, more focus and looks set to become more profitable.
Whatever the reason for the 25% drop in Organon’s valuation, Wijers is already well on his way to being voted one of the Netherlands top CEOs this year too.
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