OK
The Universal Selection Source:
Coatings Ingredients
Industry News

Strong Operational Focus in Transformational Year of Akzo Nobel

Published on 2008-03-11. Author : SpecialChem

Amsterdam, the Netherlands -- Akzo Nobel has reported 5% autonomous growth and a 29% rise in net income before incidentals for 2007. In what was a transformational year, the company was able to maintain a strong operational focus.

Revenue for the year amounted to EUR 10.2 billion, up 2% on 2006, with notable contributions from emerging markets. Autonomous growth was 5%, with both Coatings and Chemicals contributing to the 2% volume growth and 3% selling price increase.

EBITDA before incidentals improved 15% to EUR 1,271 million, with both Coatings and Chemicals contributing - highlighting the underlying strength of the company - while the EBITDA margin rose to 12.4% (2006: 11.0%).

"The achievements of 2007 have transformed Akzo Nobel from a conglomerate into a focused company, a truly global sustainable leader in coatings and specialty chemicals," said CEO Hans Wijers. "Our full year results also highlight the underlying strength of Akzo Nobel in what has been a strong final quarter in challenging conditions. During all these major activities, I am very proud that our employees kept their eye on the ball."

Dividend up 50%

Akzo Nobel's dividend has been increased from EUR 1.20 to EUR 1.80 per common share, up 50%. Dividends from 2008 onwards will be a minimum of 45% payout ratio of net income before incidentals and the fair value adjustment charge related to the ICI acquisition.

Fourth quarter

Fourth quarter revenue amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, up 2% on 2006. Autonomous growth was %, while currency translation had a negative impact of 3%. Autonomous growth was especially trong at Chemicals (12%), while Coatings also performed well, achieving 3% volume growth.

Incidentals

Incidentals in 2007 on balance amounted to a loss of EUR 169 million, compared with a gain of EUR 126 million in 2006. The 2007 losses mainly related to restructuring and impairment charges at several Coatings and Chemicals sites. In addition, a provision of EUR 66 million was recognized for postretirement healthcare costs due to the loss of a court case in the Netherlands, a decision which the company intends to appeal.

Coatings full year/fourth quarter - excellent performance

Coatings reported an excellent performance during 2007, despite difficult market conditions in the industrial area. Revenue growth was 5%, driven by autonomous growth of 4%. Both volumes and prices were up 2%. Before incidentals, EBITDA increased 12% to EUR 737 million, with EBITDA margin improving to 11.3% (2006: 10.6%) due to autonomous growth and the benefits of margin management and restructuring programs.

Coatings' fourth quarter revenue was 2% up, despite currency headwinds of 2%. Autonomous growth was 3%, driven by Marine & Protective and Powder Coatings. Before incidentals, EBITDA rose 25% to EUR 143 million, with an EBITDA margin of 9.4% (2006: 7.6%). The Decorative Coatings business improved significantly. Programs on complexity reduction and brand clustering are being implemented worldwide, resulting in brand synergies, improved sharing of best practices, stronger market impact and further efficiency improvements.

Chemicals full year/fourth quarter - record ROI performance

Chemicals reported a record performance in 2007, reflecting its improved overall portfolio after the restructuring of activities implemented during 2006. Autonomous growth was 7%, with prices up 4% and a volume increase of 3%. Currencies had a negative impact of 2%, primarily attributable to the U.S. dollar.

The continuous rise of raw material and energy prices was more than offset by autonomous growth, margin management and cost savings. Before incidentals, EBITDA increased 9% to EUR 610 million, with an EBITDA margin of close to 17%, a full percentage point above 2006. The moving average ROI rose to a record 21.7%.

Chemicals reported a strong fourth quarter with revenue growth of 7%. Autonomous growth was 12%, with volumes and prices both rising 6%. This more than compensated for the negative currency impact of 4%, which was primarily attributable to the U.S. dollar and the 1% negative effect from outsourcing of services.

Coatings' fourth quarter revenue was 2% up, despite currency headwinds of 2%. Autonomous growth was 3%, driven by Marine & Protective and Powder Coatings. Before incidentals, EBITDA rose 25% to EUR 143 million, with an EBITDA margin of 9.4% (2006: 7.6%). The Decorative Coatings business improved significantly. Programs on complexity reduction and brand clustering are being implemented worldwide, resulting in brand synergies, improved sharing of best practices, stronger market impact and further efficiency improvements.

Chemicals full year/fourth quarter - record ROI performance

Chemicals reported a record performance in 2007, reflecting its improved overall portfolio after the restructuring of activities implemented during 2006. Autonomous growth was 7%, with prices up 4% and a volume increase of 3%. Currencies had a negative impact of 2%, primarily attributable to the U.S. dollar.

The continuous rise of raw material and energy prices was more than offset by autonomous growth, margin management and cost savings. Before incidentals, EBITDA increased 9% to EUR 610 million, with an EBITDA margin of close to 17%, a full percentage point above 2006. The moving average ROI rose to a record 21.7%.

Chemicals reported a strong fourth quarter with revenue growth of 7%. Autonomous growth was 12%, with volumes and prices both rising 6%. This more than compensated for the negative currency impact of 4%, which was primarily attributable to the U.S. dollar and the 1% negative effect from outsourcing of services.

Before incidentals, EBITDA increased 5% to EUR 137 million, with an EBITDA margin of 15.1% (2006: 15.5%). EBIT was up 16% to EUR 87 million. Pulp & Paper Chemicals, Functional Chemicals, and Surfactants in particular are operating at a significantly improved level compared with the same quarter in 2006. This is due to autonomous growth, as well as further margin management and cost saving actions.

ICI fourth quarter - strong performance

ICI realized autonomous growth of 6%, led by the emerging markets. EBIT of continuing operations improved by 27%, with all regions contributing. ICI Paints revenue increased 3% by strong growth in emerging markets. EBIT of ICI paints improved by 54%, with all regions contributing. Revenues in the U.S. were down 6%, with EBIT margins significantly improved because of cost savings. Specialty Polymers and Regional & Industrial also reported strong results. The ICI pension deficit was significantly down, from GBP 1.2 billion in 2006, to GBP 0.3 billion in 2007.

Pro forma results of the new Akzo Nobel

The integrated organization will operate in three business areas - Decorative Paints, Performance Coatings and Specialty Chemicals. Pro forma 2007 figures before incidentals showed EUR 14.4 billion revenues, with an EBITDA of EUR 1.9 billion. Total EBIT before incidentals and the fair value adjustment charge related to the ICI acquisition amounted to EUR 1.4 billion. Pro forma net income before incidentals and the fair value adjustment was EUR 942 million. The fair value adjustment charge related to the ICI acquisition amounted to EUR 146 million before tax.

Start of EUR 3 billion share buyback

As stated previously, Akzo Nobel intends an additional return of capital to its shareholders of EUR 3 billion. Following recent changes in the Dutch tax rules regarding share buyback capacity, Akzo Nobel intends to return the full EUR 3 billion by way of share buybacks.

Following the European Commission clearance of the on sale to Henkel, Akzo Nobel confirms that it will commence the additional capital return mid-March, by way of an initial EUR 1 billion share buyback under existing shareholder approval. The remainder of the share buyback program will be subject to shareholder approval at the company's Annual General Meeting of April 22, 2008.

Integration update

Since Akzo Nobel has finalized plans for the new segments of the company, the relevant management and the integration teams have been appointed. The company is pleased to report that the synergy identification is well on track.

Building momentum - management agenda 2008

The ongoing pressure created by raw material prices, volatility in major currencies and a slowdown in overall growth in North America and Europe will make for a testing environment.

However, Akzo Nobel is confident that the strategic transformation has maneuvered the company into a position of strength. In the years to come, Akzo Nobel will deliver on its promise of outgrowing its markets and further improving the bottom line.

Much of the company's energy during 2008 will be devoted to successfully integrating ICI's businesses into Akzo Nobel's organization and achieving the first round of synergies.

Source: Akzo Nobel


Improve the durability of PU coatings
2018 Polyurethanes Technical Conference
Channel Alerts

Receive weekly digests on hot topics

Back to Top