AkzoNobel Seen as Possible Buyer for Ex-DuPont Automotive Coatings Arm

02.09.2014 -

AkzoNobel is being touted as a possible buyer for Axalta Coating Systems, the former DuPont automotive coatings business being divested by private equity investor Carlyle Group.
While Carlyle, which owns 95% of the coatings manufacturer, has filed for an initial public offering (ipo) with the regulatory authority US Securities and Exchange Commission, some market watchers say it also might solicit outright bids for the business.

The news agency Bloomberg, citing sources, has identified the Dutch paints and coating giant alongside US rival Sherwin-Williams as the two companies with which Axalta would be the best fit.
Previously, banks handling the transaction - book runners are Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and J.P. Morgan, along with BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley - said Axalta could fetch at least $1.6 billion. Some of Bloomberg's sources put the stakes as high as $7 billion.

Carlyle bought the coatings producer in 2013 for $4.9 billion. The former DuPont business makes liquid and powder coatings for the automotive and general transportation industries. It operates 35 manufacturing centers and does business in more than 130 countries. Among its principal customers are General Motors and Daimler.

Bloomberg said investment bankers are speaking with executives at AkzoNobel to pitch the transaction. As the cost savings initiative of CEO Ton Büchner begins to bear fruit, some analysts say shareholders will be looking for a growth strategy. Others told the news agency the car coatings business might command too high a multiple for the Dutch company.