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AkzoNobel reaches 'standstill' agreement with Elliott

August 16, 2017
Chemical Value Chain

Akzo Nobel said today it has reached an agreement with Elliott Advisors, its largest shareholder, with Elliott agreeing to suspend legal actions against AkzoNobel and to support its board nominations.

Elliott has agreed to support AkzoNobel’s decision to sell its specialty chemicals business, which accounts for about one-third of AkzoNobel’s sales and profits.

Elliott, which owns 9.5% of AkzoNobel, has been in dispute with AkzoNobel since the latter rejected a €26 billion ($30.4 billion) takeover offer by rival PPG. The activist shareholder sought unsuccessfully to have chairman Antony Burgmans removed by legal action. Burgmans has since said that he will be stepping down at the end of his legal tenure in April 2018.

Elliott will support the appointment of Thierry Vanlancker as member of the board of management of AkzoNobel at the upcoming extraordinary general meeting on 8 September 2017. Vanlancker was appointed to succeed CEO Ton Büchner, who resigned last month. AkzoNobel and Elliott have also agreed, subject to the terms of a standstill agreement, to seek to suspend all ongoing litigation for at least three months.

Separately, AkzoNobel today announced two new nominations to its supervisory board, Sue Clark and Patrick Thomas, with Elliott’s support. Thomas is the CEO of Covestro. In addition, AkzoNobel intends to nominate a third supervisory board member, which will be done in consultation with the company’s major shareholders, including Elliott. “I am pleased our recent constructive discussions with Elliott improved understanding between both parties. AkzoNobel remains focused on creating two world-class, high-performing businesses; specialty chemicals and paints and coatings …. This agreement is fully in line with our ongoing program to strengthen and maintain a constructive dialogue with all our shareholders,” Burgmans says.

“Today’s agreement marks an important next step in positioning AkzoNobel for success and enabling the company to deliver compelling value to all its stakeholders. As shareholders, we look forward to building upon the recent constructive dialogue with the company,” said Gordon Singer, CEO of Elliott Advisors (UK).

By Natasha Alperowicz

Source: Chemical Week

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