AkzoNobel offloads starch arm

US-based Corn Products International has struck a deal to buy the National Starch business off Dutch paints firm AkzoNobel for $1.3bn (£881m) in cash, completing the Dutch firm’s delayed sale of non-core businesses. AkzoNobel had acquired National Starch with its buyout of British paints firm ICI in 2008 and in April said it had received renewed expressions of interest in the unit, moving it to reclassify the business as a discontinued operation. Corn Products said the deal would increase its annual sales to almost $5bn and generate cost synergies of at least $50m, while on a cash basis the transaction is expected to be accretive by the end of 2011.