Coatings unit depresses AkzoNobel’s 2017 earnings

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

AkzoNobel’s coatings and paints unit pulled 2017 group profit earnings down slightly, but its recently hived-off specialty chemicals arm more than compensated by booking higher earnings last year, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Thursday.

The Amsterdam-based company booked virtually flat 2017 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) at €1.53bn on turnover 3% higher at €14.6bn.

AkzoNobel was in the news last year because of a hostile takeover bid by its US rival PPG Industries which ultimately failed. There has been a major reshuffle of top executives since then and the company expects to sell off the chemicals unit soon for roughly €10bn.

The company’s coatings operations were affected by rapidly rising raw materials costs and unfavourable exchange rate fluctuations, a situation which it expects to continue into the current year but to a lesser degree.

The company is proposing a total dividend per share 52% higher at €2.50. This is alongside a €4.00 special cash dividend paid in December 2017 as advance proceeds related to the separation of specialty chemicals business.