Tension spills over in ongoing power struggle for paints group AkzoNobel

Photo: Akzo Nobel

AkzoNobel cancelled a meeting with vulture capital fund Elliott Advisers this week after the investor launched yet another lawsuit against the Amsterdam-based paints group, the Telegraaf reports.

According to the newspaper, Elliott Advisors sent a three-man delegation to the company’s headquarters on Wednesday afternoon to try to force a meeting with the Dutch group’s CEO Ton Büchner. But Büchner was not in the building at the time, nor would he agree to speak with Elliott.

Elliott portfolio manager Wiktor Sliwinski said he was ‘very disappointed’ that an earlier meeting with Büchner scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.

‘As the largest shareholder in AkzoNobel, we have been in contact with them several times since 15 June to try to have a constructive dialogue with the CEO,’ he said.

In the latest suit, which will come before a summary trial judge in Amsterdam, Elliott is seeking to dismiss AkzoNobel’s supervisory board chairman Antony Burgmans. A similar case was presented earlier to Amsterdam company court which rejected the case.

Elliott, which has a 9.5% stake in AkzoNobel, has been at loggerheads with the Dutch paints group since early March. At that time US-based paints and coatings group PPG Industries made a bid for AkzoNobel, the Financieele Dagblad explained.

AkzoNobel repeatedly refused to enter discussions with PPG even as the US company twice raised its bid. The last bid was for €26.9bn.

Elliott believes the takeover would benefit all shareholders and wants Burgmans removed, terming him the biggest obstacle to the transaction.

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