Akzo Deepens Savings to Push Earnings in Market Slowdown

Akzo Nobel NV (AKZA), Europe’s largest paintmaker, will deepen an efficiency drive amid weakened markets for specialty chemicals and paints in Europe.

The Dutch company will book an extra 120 million euros ($157 million) in overhaul costs this year, it said in a statement today. The benefits of the additional measures won’t feed through to profit until 2014 at the earliest, and Akzo predicted lower earnings this year.

Ton Buechner, who became chief executive officer in April 2012, has marked his first 15 months in charge with an exit from the U.S. decorative-paint market and a pledge to adapt and bring forward savings goals by one year. Markets remain tough, Buechner said in the statement.

“We do not expect an early improvement in the external trends our businesses are facing,” the CEO said. “With this pressure on our top line, we are stepping up our restructuring activities to secure the delivery of our 2015 targets, which drive cash generation and quality of earnings.”

Akzo reported a 14 percent decline in second-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to 474 million euros. Sales fell 4 percent to 3.87 billion euros. Analysts predicted 3.9 billion euros, on average, based on estimates collated by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Noel in London at anoel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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