April 28, 2017 / 9:48 AM / in 3 years

Akzo Nobel investor USS backs call for PPG talks over revised bid

FILE PHOTO: A view of AkzoNobel's headquarters in Amsterdam, February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - One of Britain’s biggest pension scheme investors has called on Dutch paintmaker Akzo Nobel (AKZO.AS) to engage with U.S. suitor PPG Industries (PPG.N) over a revised bid and criticised the board’s handling of the issue.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which manages about 57 billion pounds on behalf of 375,000 savers, said that a revised $29 billion bid for Akzo from PPG was enough for “meaningful and constructive” dialogue to begin “in earnest”.

After rejecting two previous bids, Akzo has yet to respond to the third.

Separately, at the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday, the company refused a request from a group of shareholders to hold an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the future of Akzo Chairman Antony Burgmans.

Daniel Summerfield, Co-Head of Responsible Investment at USS, said the decision to refuse the EGM request “not only undermines the credibility of the board but portrays Dutch governance in a very negative light”.

USS said in a statement that it had been a shareholder in Akzo Nobel since 2010 and currently held a 1.28 percent stake in Akzo, making it a top-10 investor according to Thomson Reuters data.

(This version of the story corrects fourth paragraph to make clear the request for EGM was to discuss Akzo Chairman, not the PPG bid)

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Carolyn Cohn and David Goodman

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