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Akzo Nobel, the Dutch coatings and chemicals company, beat analysts’ expectations with second-quarter revenues up 8 per cent year on year to €4.41bn, as higher prices compensated for lower volumes.
The world’s largest paint and coatings company by sales also reported an 8 per cent rise in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to €593m, compared with a year ago.
But the company warned that continued macroeconomic weakness, especially in Europe, would likely weigh on future results. Net profits fell 22 per cent to €197m due to incidental charges, the company said.
The quarter was the first results day for new chief executive Ton Büchner after taking over in April from Hans Wijers, who had led the company for a decade. Mr Büchner, who previously served as chief executive at Swiss mechanical group Sulzer, said his strategy would aim to concentrate on operational improvements rather than big acquisitions or divestments.
“We are not focusing on portfolio changes,” he told the Financial Times. “Our focus going forward will remain performance improvement, margin improvement, and cash flow improvement.”
Mr Büchner said further details would be provided at a strategy update in October.
Mr Wijers transformed Akzo, formerly a broad chemicals, coatings and pharmaceuticals conglomerate, into a more streamlined business. But the company has underperformed since the financial crisis against competitors such as Sherwin Williams and PPG.
Mr Büchner’s comments put to rest periodic speculation by analysts that Akzo might further concentrate by cutting back its consumer decorative paints or speciality chemicals businesses.
Akzo shares were up almost 6 per cent to €42.91 in morning trading on the Amsterdam exchange, against a 0.6 per cent rise in the AEX index of shares.