AkzoNobel: Our earnings will be better than last year... but worse than previously forecast

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AkzoNobel is best known in the UK for its Dulux brand (Source: Getty)

Dutch paints company AkzoNobel, the recent victim of an activist investor battering, today warned that earnings this year will be lower than forecast.

The owner of Dulux also announced a new management structure for its paints and coatings business ahead of an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders today.

Akzo has come under a large amount of shareholder pressure this year over its handling of a takeover approach from US rival PPG Industries.

Activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors led the charge, berating the Dutch firm’s management for initially refusing to engage in talks with PPG.

Akzo’s share price fell two per cent to €76.97 after it said today that, thanks to increased selling prices and additional cost control measures, earnings before interest and taxation are expected to be “higher than 2016, although by less than the previously communicated increase of €100bn”.

“Current challenges in the paints and coatings markets are having a wider and greater impact as the year continues and we are dealing with these head-on,” said new Akzo chief executive Thierry Vanlancker.

Our new management structure will increase customer focus, drive further operational excellence, and build greater momentum and speed.

AkzoNobel is delivering growth and the organization changes we are making will pave the way for the creation of two focused businesses.

These changes will help us deliver a stronger 2017 than 2016, despite dealing with current market challenges, and help to ensure we achieve our 2020 financial guidance.

Read more: Peace at last? AkzoNobel and Elliott agree truce after takeover feud