World

Dutch court refuses to intervene in AkzoNobel, PPG dispute

An Amsterdam court on Monday rejected a request by a group of AkzoNobel shareholders to order an extraordinary shareholder meeting to discuss dismissing the paint and coatings company's supervisory board chairman.

The Amsterdam Commercial Court ruling came amid unrest by some AkzoNobel shareholders at the company's decision to reject three unsolicited takeover bids by American rival PPG Industries.

Rejecting the third PPG bid, worth $28.8 billion, AkzoNobel said that its own plan to spin off its Specialty Chemicals unit within 12 months to boost growth "offers a superior route to growth and long-term value creation and is in the best interests of shareholders and all other stakeholders."

Some shareholders, led by hedge fund Elliott Management, want Supervisory Board Chairman Antony Burgmans replaced, but the court refused to order a special shareholder meeting to vote on a proposal to oust him.

AkzoNobel spokesman Leslie McGibbon said the company was pleased with the decision.

"Throughout the process, the boards have been conducting themselves to the highest standards of corporate governance," McGibbon said. "Our job remains to deliver on the high-growth strategy we have outlined, and that is what we are focused on."

The court also said that AkzoNobel's repeated rejections of PPG bids had led to "incomprehension among some shareholders" and opened a fault line between AkzoNobel and those shareholders.

"This is a problem that AkzoNobel cannot ignore," the court said, adding that the company should consider how to restore good relations with the discontented shareholders.

A lawyer for Elliott declined comment, saying he wanted to discuss the ruling with his client.