Coordinates: 52°20′24″N 4°52′16″E / 52.34000°N 4.87111°E / 52.34000; 4.87111
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Akzo Nobel N.V.
Company typePublic (NV)
Euronext AmsterdamAKZA
AEX component
PredecessorAkzo NV
Nobel Industries AB
Founded1994; 30 years ago (1994)
HeadquartersAmsterdam, Netherlands
Area served
Key people
Grégoire Poux-Guillaume (CEO)
Nils Smedegaard Andersen (Chairman of the supervisory board)
Revenue10.846 billion (2022)[1]
€708 million (2022)[1]
€378 million (2022)[1]
Total assets€14.741 billion (2022)[1]
Total equity€4.548 billion (2022)[1]
Number of employees
35,200 (2022)[1]

Akzo Nobel N.V., stylized as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational company which creates paints and performance coatings for both industry and consumers worldwide. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 150 countries.[1] AkzoNobel is the world's third-largest paint manufacturer by revenue after Sherwin-Williams and PPG Industries.[2][3]


AkzoNobel has a long history of mergers and divestments. Parts of the current company can be traced back to 17th-century companies.[4] The milestone mergers and divestments are the formation of AKZO in 1969, the merger with Nobel Industries in 1994 forming Akzo Nobel, and the divestment of its pharmaceutical business and the merger with ICI in 2007/2008 resulting in current-day AkzoNobel.

History and formation of Akzo[edit]

Akzo was formed in 1969 as merger of Algemene Kunstzijde Unie (General Artificial Silk Union; AKU) and Koninklijke Zout Organon (Royal Salt Organon; KZO).[5]

The AKU was formed in 1929 when the Vereinigte Glanzstoff Fabrike (est. 1899) and Nederlandse Kunstzijdefabriek (ENKA, est. 1911) merged, forming Algemene Kunstzijde Unie (AKU). The latter faced, amongst others, technical problems in the manufacturing of synthetic fibers. Its founder, Jacques Coenraad Hartogs, turned to Dutch industrialist Rento Hofstede Crull for a solution for which Hofstede Crull provided the answer. They created a joint venture, the NV I.S.E.M., whose successes and profits laid the foundation for the ENKA's subsequent acquisitions and mergers and which was eventually absorbed by the AKU in 1938.[6]

The other part of the merger, the KZO, was formed when Koninklijke Zout Ketjen merged with Koninklijke Zwanenberg Organon in 1967. The former was itself a merger of Koninklijke Nederlandse Zoutindustrie (KNZ) and Ketjen. The KNZ was formed in 1918 by Ko Vis as a salt producing company; a business that to this day plays an important role in AkzoNobel's activities.[5] The other part, Koninklijke Zwanenberg Organon, was formed when Zwanenberg's Fabrieken (est. 1887), a meat export factory based in Oss merged with Organon, a pharmaceuticals company founded by Saal van Zwanenberg, also in Oss.[citation needed]

After the merger of AKU and KZO, Akzo made a number of other critical acquisitions; Armour and Company in 1970,[7] Levis Paints in 1985, specialty chemicals division of Stauffer in 1987 and divested its polyamides and polyesters plastics engineering business to DSM in 1992. In 1993, Akzo formed a joint venture with Harrisons Chemicals (UK) Ltd a subsidiary of Harrisons & Crosfield.[citation needed]

Oslo, Norway Factory
Barcelona, Spain Factory
Suffolk, UK Factory
Shanghai, China Factory

AkzoNobel formation[edit]

In 1994 Akzo and Nobel Industries agreed to merge, forming Akzo Nobel, with the new combined entity having 20 business entities a number of divestments were made: Nobel Chemicals, Nobel Biotech and Spectra-Physics. In 1995 the PET resins business was sold to Wellman, Inc.. In 1996 the group sold the crop protection business to Nufarm. In 1998 the company acquired industrial coatings and in synthetic fiber company Courtaulds, later divesting Courtaulds industrial coatings and Daejen Fine Chemicals. Courtaulds was merged with Akzo Nobel Fibres forming Acordis, which in December 1999 was divested CVC Capital Partners. In 1999 the company acquired the pharmaceutical business of Kanebo, the Italian pharmaceutical manufacturer, Farmaceutici Gellini, Nuova ICC and Hoechst Roussel Vet.

In the early 2000s the company began another wave of divestitures, first in 2000 with its stake in Rovin's VCM and PVC business to Shin-Etsu Chemical. In 2001 divests ADC optical monomers business to Great Lakes Chemical, in 2002 its printing inks business, in 2004 its catalyst business to Albemarle Corp., in 2005 its Ink & Adhesive Resins to Hexion and UV/EB Resins to Cray Valley, in 2007 its Akcros Chemicals to GIL Investments. In 2006 the group acquired Canadian decorative and industrial coatings company, SICO Inc. and a year later Canadian industrial coatings company, Chemcraft International, Inc.

In 2007 Organon International was sold to Schering-Plough for €11 billion and AkzoNobel delisted its shares from the US NASDAQ stock market. In 2008 Crown Paints was sold in a management buyout.[8]

In December 2012, AkzoNobel agrees to sell its North American Architectural Coatings business to PPG Industries for $1.1 billion[9]

Acquisition of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI)[edit]

In 2008 AkzoNobel acquired British Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) for $15.8 billion.[10]

ICI can trace its history back to four British-based chemical companies; British Dyestuffs Corporation, Brunner, Mond & Company, Nobel Explosives, and the United Alkali Company.[11] which merged in 1926, forming ICI. A year later, the newly merged entity employed over 33,000 employees in five main product areas: alkali products, explosives, metals, general chemicals, and dyestuffs. In 1933 the company developed polyethylene, which is later patented and sold as an insulating material. In 1986 focusses to paint and specialty products with the purchase of Beatrice's Chemicals Division and Glidden Paint.

In 1993 ICI demerged its bioscience business, splitting into two the publicly listed companies: ICI and Zeneca—Zeneca would later go onto merge with Astra AB, forming the current pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca.[citation needed][citation needed]

In 1997 ICI acquired four businesses from Unilever: National Starch, Quest, Uniqema, and Crosfield and began to divest its bulk commodity and also speciality business as Crosfield (1998) as Uniqema (2006), Quest (2006).[citation needed]

In April 2008 Henkel acquired from AkzoNobel the adhesive part of National Starch [12] and in June 2010, AkzoNobel divested the starch part of National Starch business to Corn Products International.

Attempted acquisition by PPG Industries[edit]

In March 2017, PPG Industries launched an unsolicited takeover bid of €20.9bn, which was promptly rejected by AkzoNobel's management.[13] Days later, PPG again launched an increased bid of €24.5 billion ($26.3 billion), which was again rejected by AkzoNobel's management.[14] A number of shareholders urged the company to explore the offer and subsequent negotiations.[15][16] In April, activist investor, Elliot Investors' called for the removal of Chairman Antony Burgmans following Akzo's refusal to submit to discussing with PPG. Elliott, which has a 3.25% stake in the company, claimed it was one of a group of investors that met the Dutch legal threshold of 10% voting-share support, which is needed to call an extraordinary meeting to vote on a proposal to remove Burgmans.[17] On April 13, Templeton Global Equity said it was among another group of investors calling for an extraordinary meeting of AkzoNobel shareholders to discuss Burgmans continued tenure as Chairman.[18] Later, in the same month Akzo outlined its plan to separate its chemicals division and pay shareholders €1.6 billion in extra dividends, in order to attempt to hold-off PPG.[19][20] The new Akzo strategy was dismissed by PPG, which claimed that their offer represented better value for shareholders,[21][22] supported by activist Akzo shareholder, Elliot Advisors.[23] On April 24, a day before Akzo's annual meeting of shareholders, PPG increased its final offer by approximately 8% to $28.8 billion (€26.9 billion, €96.75 per share)—with Akzo's share pricing rising 6% to a record price of €82.95 per share.[24] Akzo shareholder, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, urged the company to open dialogue with PPG,[25] whilst PPG claimed that the deal would add to earning within its first year.[26] Days later one of Great Britain's largest pension scheme investors, Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), urged Akzo to engage with PPG.[27] On 2 May, Reuters revealed that the supervisory board of Azko was meeting to discuss how to deal with PPGs third offer, still maintaining it did not value the company highly enough.[28]

In early May, Akzo again rejected PPGs bid, citing the deal still undervalued the company, as well as potentially facing antitrust risks, and not addressing other concerns such as "cultural differences". Under Dutch company law, PPG had to then decide to either make a formal bid or walkaway.[29] In early June, PPG chose to walk away from the potential deal.[30][31] As part of Akzo's defense to shareholders, many of whom pushed for the deal, chief executive Ton Büchner agreed to split Akzo in two and achieve increased financial targets.[32] Büchner stepped down as CEO in July 2017, citing health reasons. He was succeeded by Thierry Vanlancker, former chief of the company's chemicals division.[33]


The company AkzoNobel is focused on paints and coatings. On October 9, 2018 Specialty Chemicals was re-branded as a new company, Nouryon, after acquisition by the Carlyle Group.[34]

International Paint Limited, owned by AkzoNobel were fined £650,000 and ordered to pay costs of £144,992 in a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency for allowing the banned highly toxic chemical tributyltin to be released into the river Yealm estuary at Newton Ferrers.[35]


AkzoNobel consists of three main business areas, as well as corporate functions, with business responsibility and autonomy.

Due to high revenues from the sales of its pharmaceutical business, AkzoNobel was the world's most profitable company in 2008.[36]

Decorative paints[edit]

This part of the business is mostly geographically organised:

  • Europe, Middle East and Africa
  • Latin America
  • Asia

AkzoNobel markets their products under various brandnames such as Dulux, Alabastine, Bruguer, Tintas Coral, Hammerite, Herbol, Sico, Sikkens, International, Interpon, Casco, Nordsjö, Sadolin, Cuprinol, Taubmans, Lesonal, Levis, Glidden, Flood, Flexa, Flora, Vivexrom, Marshall, and Pinotex among others. These products were used on London's Millennium Wheel, La Scala Opera House in Milan, the Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, the Beijing National Stadium, Airbus A380, and Stadium Australia in Sydney.[citation needed]

Performance coatings[edit]

AkzoNobel is a leading coatings company whose key products include automotive coatings, specialised equipment for the car repair and transportation market and marine coatings. The coatings groups consist of the following business units:[37][38]

  • Decorative Paints
  • Marine and Protective Coatings
  • Automotive and Specialty Coatings
  • Industrial Coatings
  • Powder Coatings

Specialty chemicals[edit]

The speciality chemicals group was sold in 2018 and is now named Nouryon.

It consisted of four business units.[38]

  • Functional Chemicals (FC)
  • Industrial Chemicals (IC), before 1 January 2009 known as Base Chemicals (BC)
  • Pulp and Performance Chemicals, under brand name Eka (PPC)
  • Surface Chemistry (SC)

The divestment of the former business unit of Chemicals Pakistan was completed in Q4 2012.

As chemicals producer, AkzoNobel was a world leading salt specialist, chloralkali products, and other industrial chemicals. Ultimately, AkzoNobel products were found in everyday items such as paper, ice cream, bakery goods, cosmetics, plastics and glass. Each business unit had an annual turnover of approximately EUR 1 billion to 1.9 billion.[39]


Expancel is a unit within AkzoNobel.[40][41][42][43] Expancel produces expandable microspheres under the tradename "Expancel Microspheres". Expancel has its head office in Sundsvall, Sweden. Production, R&D, sales and marketing is located in Sundsvall. Expancel has sales offices in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Italy, US, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore and China. The number of employees is about 200.

Turn-over and profit history[edit]

Year Turn-over Profit
2017[44] Decrease €9.6 billion Decrease €511 million
2016[45] Decrease €14.2 billion Decrease €970 million
2015[38] Increase €14.9 billion Increase €979 million
2014[39] Decrease €14.3 billion Decrease €546 million
2013 Decrease €14.59 billion Increase €724 million
2012 Decrease €15.39 billion Decrease € -2.169 billion
2011 Increase €15.70 billion Decrease €541 million
2010[46] Increase €14.64 billion Increase €754 million
2009[46] Decrease €13.03 billion Increase €285 million
2008 Increase €15.42 billion Decrease € -1.08 billion
2007 Increase €10.22 billion Decrease €410 million
2006 Decrease €10.02 billion Decrease €715 million
2005 Increase €13.00 billion Increase €961 million
2004 Decrease €12.83 billion Increase €945 million
2003 Decrease €13.05 billion Decrease €602 million
2002 Decrease €14.00 billion Increase €818 million
2001 Increase €14.11 billion Decrease €671 million

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "AkzoNobel Report 2022" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Akzo Nobel and PPG Industries strengthen their businesses with minor acquisitions".
  3. ^ "Top manufacturers of paints, coatings, adhesives, and sealants in 2022 | Coatings World".
  4. ^ Tomorrow's answers today, AkzoNobel 2008 Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, ISBN 978-90-902288-3-9, English version
  5. ^ a b "Wat is AkzoNobel?" (in Dutch). NPO. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  6. ^ History of the NV I.S.E.M.: ("Enka Historisch Museum Ede - de Internationale Spinpot Exploitatie Maatschappij". Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017.); Jaap Tuik. Een bijzonder energiek ondernemer - Rento Wolter Hendrik Hofstede Crull (1863-1938): pioneer van de elektriciteits voorziening in Nederland Zutphen, Netherlands: Historisch Centrum Overijsssel & Walberg Pers, 2009. pp: 137- 138 ISBN 978-90-5730-640-2
  7. ^ AkzoNobel company history Archived 20 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, fundinguniverse.com
  8. ^ Tyler, Richard (3 August 2008). "Akzo Nobel give up Crown Paints". Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  9. ^ Kreijger, Sara Webb and Gilbert (14 December 2012). "AkzoNobel sells North American paint arm to PPG for $1.1 billion". Reuters. Archived from the original on 27 March 2017.
  10. ^ "BBC NEWS - Business - Akzo Nobel ICI merger completed". 2 January 2008. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009.
  11. ^ "ICI: History". ICI. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008.
  12. ^ "Henkel Closes Acquisition of National Starch Businesses". news.thomasnet.com. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  13. ^ Robinson, Duncan (24 March 2017). "PPG bid forces Akzo Nobel's Ton Büchner to play defence". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 26 March 2017.
  14. ^ "PPG Makes Revised Proposal to Combine with AkzoNobel". Archived from the original on 28 March 2017.
  15. ^ Dean, Sam (23 March 2017). "AkzoNobel shareholders turn up the heat on Dulux owner over rejected PPG takeover bid". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 February 2018.
  16. ^ Whitfield, Graeme (24 March 2017). "Largest shareholder at big North East employer AkzoNobel urges takeover talks". Archived from the original on 27 March 2017.
  17. ^ Sherman, Natalie (12 April 2017). "Akzo Nobel faces call to axe chairman amid takeover battle". BBC News. Archived from the original on 13 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Another Akzo Nobel investor calls for meeting on chairman". Reuters. 13 April 2017. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017.
  19. ^ Sterlink, Toby (18 April 2017). "Akzo Nobel unveils plan to separate chemicals arm, pay special dividend". Reuters. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Akzo Nobel beats on first quarter operating profit, sees 2017 growth". Reuters. 19 April 2017. Archived from the original on 19 April 2017.
  21. ^ "PPG Industries says Akzo Nobel's new plan is worse for shareholders". Reuters. 19 April 2017. Archived from the original on 20 April 2017.
  22. ^ Keidan, Toby Sterling and Maiya (19 April 2017). "PPG dismisses Akzo Nobel defence, presses takeover case". Reuters. Archived from the original on 19 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Elliott calls Akzo Nobel strategic plan 'incomplete'". Reuters. 19 April 2017. Archived from the original on 20 April 2017.
  24. ^ Sterling, Toby (24 April 2017). "PPG raises offer for Akzo Nobel to $29 billion". Reuters. Archived from the original on 24 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Akzo Nobel shareholder Columbia Threadneedle urges talks with PPG". Reuters. 24 April 2017. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Akzo Nobel purchase would add to earnings in first year - PPG CEO". Reuters. 24 April 2017. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017.
  27. ^ "Akzo Nobel investor USS backs call for PPG talks over revised bid". Reuters. 28 April 2017. Archived from the original on 29 April 2017.
  28. ^ Roumeliotis, Greg (2 May 2017). "Exclusive - Akzo sees latest PPG bid inadequate, weighs options-sources". Reuters. Archived from the original on 3 May 2017.
  29. ^ Sterling, Toby (8 May 2017). "Akzo Nobel declines third takeover proposal from PPG". Reuters. Archived from the original on 8 May 2017.
  30. ^ Barbaglia, Pamela (June 2017). "How PPG lost its $29.5 billion bet on Dulux paint". reuters.com. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  31. ^ Sterling, Toby (2 June 2017). "Akzo responds to PPG approach after takeover battle ends". reuters.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  32. ^ Pooler, Michael (4 June 2017). "Akzo faces tough battle after fending off PPG". Financial Times. United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  33. ^ Sterling, Toby (19 July 2017). "Akzo Nobel CEO quits, successor must deliver merger defense promises". Reuters. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  34. ^ Nouryon (9 October 2018). "AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals is now Nouryon". GlobeNewswire News Room (Press release). Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  35. ^ "Company fined £650,000 after banned chemical entered Yealm estuary". GOV.UK. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  36. ^ Top companies: Most profitable Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine, CNNMoney.com, Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  37. ^ "AkzoNobel Report 2021". AkzoNobel. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  38. ^ a b c "AkzoNobel Report 2015". AkzoNobel. Archived from the original on 28 February 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  39. ^ a b "AkzoNobel Report 2014" (PDF). AkzoNobel. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  40. ^ Dawson, Brian (27 January 2012). "Plastic Expansion". NYSE Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Expancel microspheres from AkzoNobel can swell to as much as 60 times their original volume.
  41. ^ "AkzoNobel investing €30 million to meet demand for Expancel". Dutch Daily News. 6 April 2011. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. AkzoNobel is boosting capacity in Sweden for its Expancel expandable microspheres in order to meet growing global demand.
  42. ^ Gerlin, Helen (23 May 2001). "Akzo Nobel anmäls för arbetsmiljöbrott" [Akzo Nobel reported for safety violations]. Dagbladet. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. Expancel vid Akzo Nobel byggs ut och moderniseras – ett projekt som sysselsätter ett flertal arbetare från olika företag. (Expancel at Akzo Nobel is being expanded and modernized - a project that employs numerous workers from different companies.)
  43. ^ "Akzo Nobel adds capacity for Expancel spheres.(expandable polymer spheres, Sweden)(Brief Article) - Chemical Week". Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. Scott, Alex. "Akzo Nobel adds capacity for Expancel spheres.(expandable polymer spheres, Sweden)(Brief Article)." Chemical Week. IHS Global, Inc. 2003. Archived 31 March 2002 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ "AkzoNobel Report 2017". AkzoNobel. Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  45. ^ "AkzoNobel Report 2016". AkzoNobel. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  46. ^ a b "Report for the 2010 and the 4th quarter" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2023.

External links[edit]

52°20′24″N 4°52′16″E / 52.34000°N 4.87111°E / 52.34000; 4.87111