Shareholder revolt at AkzoNobel calls for board shakeup
Shareholders in Dutch paint company Akzo Nobel are calling for a board shakeup and for CEO Antony Burgmans to be removed after Akzo immediately rejected a takeover bid by American rival PPG Industries, Reuters reports. Elliott Investors, one of Akzo's largest investors, managed to get the necessary 10 percent investors support to call an extraordinary shareholders meeting to vote on removing Burgmans.
A number of Akzo investors want the Dutch company to negotiate with PPG on a possible takeover. Akzo rejected a sweetened bid of 22.4 billion euros cash-and-stock last month. Akzo Nobel rather wants to focus on selling off its chemicals department.
"We fail to see how Akzo Nobel could have a meaningful discussion with shareholders about its plans for a potential separation of the specialty chemicals business while the alternative of a transaction with PPG is being effectively disregarded from the outset", Elliott said in a letter to Akzo's management, according to Reuters. "We believe the boards are willfully ignoring the interests of stakeholders in this respect and that they are acting in a self entrenching and obstructive manner."
A spokesperson for Akzo told Reuters that the company will respond to the investors' request within two weeks, as stipulated by Dutch law. The company also completely supports Burgmans, he added. "The view of the supervisory board is that the removal of Mr. Burgmans would be irresponsible, disproportionate, damaging and not in the best interest of the company, its shareholders and other stakeholders."