AkzoNobel makes 2015 profit splash, but future greyer

GMT 16:01 2016 Wednesday ,10 February

Arab Today, arab today AkzoNobel makes 2015 profit splash, but future greyer

Local residents and painters add colour
The Hague - AFP

The world's top paint maker AkzoNobel on Wednesday announced profits had virtually doubled in 2015, but warned the next 12 months would likely be more muted.

Net profits soared to 979 million euros ($1.1 billion) over the past year compared with 546 million euros in 2014.

This was largely due to lower expenses from restructuring efforts, a fall in the cost of raw materials and a favourable currency exchange rate.

AkzoNobel's paint-making business is seen as a broad barometer of underlying global economic activity.

"Looking ahead, we expect 2016 to be a challenging year and anticipate limited support from the markets in which we operate," said chief executive Ton Buchner.

The company added in a statement that "difficult market conditions continue in Brazil, China and Russia."

"No significant improvement is anticipated in Europe, particularly in the buildings and infrastructure segment," it said.

Operational income for 2015 was up 59 percent to 1.6 billion euros, boosted also by the sale of the paper chemicals business earlier in the year which raised a net profit of 31 million euros.

But the fourth-quarter operational profit was put at 268 million euros, lower than analyst expectations of around 288 million euros, according to Bloomberg financial agency.

Buchner has led key reorganisation of the company over the past years in order to boost profitability, selling some operations and merging others.

Sales were notably up 7 percent in performance coatings -- specialised paints for planes, boats, mobile phones and washing machines.

The full-year results translate into a dividend of 1.55 euro, an increase of 7.0 percent on 2014.

Formed in 1994 in a merger between Akzo and Nobel, the group employs 45,600 people worldwide and counts Dulux and Trimetal among its brands.


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