PPG Meets Dutch Officials but not Akzo Nobel

28.03.2017 -

An executive delegation from US coatings major PPG returned to headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from the Netherlands on Mar. 24 without having met management of takeover object Akzo Nobel, reports said. What was regarded as a public relations exercise followed the Dutch company’s rejection of a second takeover bid pegged at around €90 per share, an enterprise value of €22.7 billion, on Mar. 20.

PPG’s CEO, Michael McGarry, told international news media he remains open to meeting with representatives of Akzo Nobel "anytime and anywhere;” however, the Dutch coatings producer said no meetings between the two companies had been scheduled, nor did the latest US proposal merit engagement. 

During the two-day visit, the PPG delegates met local media, officials from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and representatives of Akzo Nobel shareholders, but the company’s trade unions also declined to engage with the US team.

Under Dutch law, companies must consider the interests of employees when making major strategic decisions, along with those of shareholders. Erik de Vries, a representative of Akzo's main labor union FNV, said employees fear that job cuts would follow a merger.

A number of shareholders of Amsterdam-based Akzo are said to have urged CEO Ton Büchner to engage in dialog with PPG. According to the news agency Reuters, a poll of 50 shareholders published by analysts for Sanford Bernstein found that 80% wanted the two companies to enter talks. Only about 7% of the shareholders are Dutch, reports said, while around 11% of its 46,000 employees are based in the Netherlands.

In a Mar. 22 statement, AkzoNobel said the PPG proposal not only failed to reflect the current and future value of the company, but also neglected to address the significant uncertainties and risks for shareholders and other stakeholders.