It's been a bad start to a big day for Akzo Nobel NV (AKZOY) with the under-pressure paint maker's stock falling as much as 2.5% early Friday Sept. 8, following a profit warning and ahead of a shareholder meeting in the afternoon.
Akzo, which is a target for activist investor Elliot Management Corp., said its 2017 results will be "higher than 2016 although by less than the previously communicated increase of €100 million."
Shares in the maker of Dulux paint opened down 2.5% before clawing back some ground to trade early morning in Europe at €76.96, down 2.1%.
"While this new guidance could imply slight downgrades to 2017 expectations, we think that this will be relatively unsurprising to most investors following disappointing coatings results globally at 2Q17 due to raw material cost pressure and challenging end markets (especially marine & protective)," noted Goldman Sachs.
Akzo's new CEO Thierry Vanlancker, who took the reins in July, will front his first shareholder meeting Friday afternoon, where he will lay out plans for the overhaul of his company's key Paintings and Coatings division and provide an update on progress toward spinning off its Specialty Chemicals unit.
Akzo on Friday announced a new corporate structure that will separate the coatings and paints operations, establishing each as a separate profit and loss center.
"AkzoNobel is delivering growth and the organization changes we are making will pave the way for the creation of two focused businesses," Vanlancker said in a statement. "The separation of Specialty Chemicals remains on track for April 2018."
Akzo has had a turbulent year, beginning with its controversial decision to reject a series of offers, including a final $26 billion bid, from PPG Industries Inc. (PPG) . That move led to clashes with shareholders, including 9.5% stakeholder Elliott, which responded by seeking to oust Akzo's Chairman Antony Burgmans. Burgmans subsequently announced he will step down when his term comes to an end next year.
In July, the company lost its CEO Ton Buchner, due to ill health, sparking a management reshuffle that included the appointment of Vanlancker as well as a new chief operating officer and a new head of the Specialty Chemicals business.
As of Friday, Akzo will also have a new CFO, after Maelys Castella stepped down due to ill health. Group Controller Hans De Vriese will step into the role, while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
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