January 30, 2018 / 11:15 AM / a year ago

Longtime shareholder walks away from Akzo Nobel

AMSTERDAM, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Tweedy Browne sold its stake in Dutch paintmaker Akzo Nobel during the fourth quarter last year after being a shareholder for 25 years, as it has lost confidence in the company, the British investor said in its quarterly report.

Tweedy Browne joined other disgruntled shareholders last year in an unsuccessful court case against Akzo Nobel, as the company refused to enter into talks over a possible takeover by American rivals PPG Industries.

After fending off PPG’s unwanted interest, Akzo launched a failed attempt to buy U.S. coatings company Axalta at a price which Tweedy Browne said was too high.

“This behaviour, coupled with their past unwillingness to engage with PPG, caused us to lose confidence and to take our profits while the stock was elevated,” the investor said.

Akzo Nobel is currently working on the separation of its Specialty Chemicals Division, through a sale or separate stock listing, promised to shareholders as part of the strategy to fight off PPG.

Akzo Nobel shares traded virtually flat at 75.40 euros at 1050 GMT on Tuesday, up 17 percent from before first announcements of PPG’s interest in early March last year.

Tweedy Browne held 0.6 percent of Akzo Nobel’s roughly 252 million outstanding shares on Sept. 30 2017. (Reporting by Bart Meijer, editing by David Evans)

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