AMSTERDAM, June 21 (Reuters) - Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel cooperated closely with the Dutch government from at least March 9, the date U.S. peer PPG Industries’ attempts to buy Akzo were made public, according to emails seen by Dutch broadcaster RTL.
The emails, obtained under a freedom-of-information request, showed Akzo Nobel employees sending non-public information to government officials, and officials consulting with the company on how to respond to questions from parliament.
The Dutch government has no formal role in the takeover process involving private companies, but Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp has been outspoken in his opposition to deals including PPG’s offer for Akzo and Bpost’s bid for PostNL.
However, after rejected approaches by would-be foreign buyers towards Unilever and Akzo, the government has begun considering new laws or rules to protect multinationals from unwanted takeovers.
PPG walked away from its final offer for Akzo of 26.3 billion euros on May 31, citing opposition from the company’s boards and the Dutch government.
On March 9, Akzo sent two emails to the ministry hours before Kamp appeared in public to say an Akzo Nobel takeover would not be in the Dutch national interest. Later Kamp introduced draft legislation giving listed companies the right to reject foreign buyers for a year.
Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and David Evans