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Akzo Nobel announces 3,500 job cuts

Published: 29 September 2008
World's largest paint manufacturer also plans to defer share buyback programme.
Akzo Nobel announces 3,500 job cuts
Akzo Nobel has announced today that it will cut 3,500 jobs by 2011 as part of a drive to reduce costs.

The Dutch-Swedish chemicals group, which acquired ICI Paints last year, said the move will result in at least €100m additional net cost savings.

It is reported that most of the job cuts will take place in the decorative paints business in North America and Europe.

Given what Akzo describes as a 'volatile situation in the global financial markets', the company has postponed a €1.6bn share buyback programme.

Akzo embarked on the programme in September 2007 to buy back shares totalling €4.6bn. By the end of September this year, it €3bn had been completed. A buyback of the remaining amount will be suspended, said the company, until 'the refinancing of the bonds has been completed'.

Ceo Hans Wijers told press this morning: "After a major transformation process, which streamlined and refocused the company, it's now time for us to deliver on what we promised and, in today's very different economic landscape, significantly improve our performance."

He added: "The world economy has now clearly entered a phase of lower growth, particularly in the mature markets. In these challenging markets, only lean companies succeed. We have therefore started a rigorous drive to further reduce out cost base."

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