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AkzoNobel plans to spin off Specialty Chemicals unit

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Industrial paints and chemicals company AkzoNobel said Wednesday it plans to spin off its Specialty Chemicals unit within 12 months to boost growth and reward its shareholders.

The shake-up at the Dutch multinational comes after it recently rejected two unsolicited takeover bids by American rival PPG Industries.

In a move aimed at keeping shareholders happy and loyal, AkzoNobel said it will boost its dividend by 50 percent and return the “vast majority of net proceeds” from the separation of its Specialty Chemicals unit to shareholders.

“Now is the right time to create two focused, high-performing businesses,” CEO Ton Buechner said.

Last month, AkzoNobel rejected offers from PPG worth 21 billion euros and 22.4 billion euros, saying they significantly undervalued the company.

Buechner said the plan to split AkzoNobel into two separate companies will generate “significant shareholder value in the short, medium and long term. It will be delivered at pace, with a clear timeline and is in the best interest of all stakeholders.”

The company said the separation of Specialty Chemicals, either selling it off or giving it a separate listing, would likely create savings of 50 million euros ($53.6 million)

AkzoNobel said first-quarter net profit was stable at 240 million euros ($257 million) as revenue rose by seven percent to 3.66 billion euros ($3.9 billion).

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