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Dulux parent AkzoNobel rejects call for removal of chairman

Activist investor Elliott Advisors has ramped up the pressure on Dulux owner AkzoNobel, leading calls for the removal of the Dutch firm's chairman Antony Burgmans.

Elliott, which holds more than 3% in Akzo, has asked for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to be held where shareholders can vote on whether to ditch Mr Burgmans.

"A substantial portion of AkzoNobel's shareholders have requested the company to convene an EGM to vote on the removal of the chairman of the supervisory board. We now call on AkzoNobel to respect the will of the shareholders and convene the EGM at the shortest notice possible," Elliot said.

The call comes after AkzoNobel rejected two takeover bids from Pittsburgh-based chemicals manufacturer PPG Industries, the latest worth 22.4 billion euros (£19.5 billion).

Elliott and other shareholders have urged the paint maker to engage with PPG, but Azko has said that the offer undervalues the company.

Known for its strong-arm tactics, Elliott has previously warned that it would attempt to oust AkzoNobel's managers if the company refused to commence talks with PPG.

However, AkzoNobel rejected the request for the EGM.

"The view of the Supervisory Board is that the removal of Mr Burgmans would be irresponsible, disproportionate, damaging and not in the best interest of the company, its shareholders and other stakeholders.

"Therefore the proposed agenda item to remove Mr Burgmans will be rejected," it said in a statement.

It has also has accused Elliott Advisors of sharing "price sensitive information" with PPG as part of its response to the activist investor.

The Dulux owner has reported the investment company to the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and urged Elliott to outline its relationship with PPG Industries.

A spokesman for Elliott Advisors said: "As widely commented by PPG Industries in the media, PPG has met and communicated with Akzo Nobel's top 20 shareholders; as one of the top 20 shareholders of Akzo Nobel, Elliott has therefore, as a matter of course, met and communicated with PPG.

"Elliott Advisors is an FCA regulated entity and is, therefore, aware of its various regulatory obligations, including obligations related to handling price sensitive, or potentially price sensitive, information."


From Belfast Telegraph