Shareholder takes AkzoNobel to companies court to oust chairman

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

Venture capital fund Elliott Advisors has taken AkzoNobel to Amsterdam companies court in a bid to oust the paints and coatings group’s supervisory board chairman Antony Burgmans, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday.

AkzoNobel is the target of a takeover bid by US rival PPG Industries and over the weekend, it rejected PPG’s third offer for the company.

In a terse press release on Tuesday, Elliott called AkzoNobel’s rejection of PPG’s third proposal a ‘flagrant breach of AkzoNobel’s fiduciary duties and of Dutch corporate law, and …an arrogant dismissal of recognised principles of proper corporate governance’.

Elliott is asking the court to order an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to vote on the dismissal of Burgmans. Akzo has declined Elliott’s previous attempts to request an EGM, which it said would not be in the company’s best interests.

An AkzoNobel spokesman said the company had evaluated PPG’s offers according to ‘the highest standards of Dutch corporate governance.’ He added, ‘Antony Burgmans has played a crucial role in this process.’

PPG has said it does not rule out a hostile attempt to acquire AkzoNobel by appealing directly to its shareholders. Near half of AkzoNobel’s shares are held by American interests.

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