AkzoNobel explores Axalta merger

AkzoNobel has confirmed merger talks with Axalta Coating Systems Ltd to create a $30bn company according to Reuters.

AkzoNobel told Reuters it was in ‘constructive talks’ about a ‘merger of equals’ in what would be the first major deal by chief executive, Thierry Vanlancker, who took over in July following the company’s rejection of a €26bn takeover offer from PPG Industries.

AkzoNobel has underlined that the talks will not affect its decision to sell its chemicals divisions, valued at €8-10bn. It reiterated promises to return the vast majority of proceeds to shareholders.

Analysts from Bernstein said in a note the deal is a ‘sensible’ idea, combining the number three and four players. The new company would trail the Sherwin-Williams/Valspar combination and PPG globally.

They commented that the merger ‘would improve scale and density in segments and countries where needed while taking out costs, most likely in the fragmented general industrial segment and in Europe.’ They forecast savings of around €250m from combining operations.