Amsterdam, the Netherlands, October 8, 2007
Speaking at an Analyst Meeting held in London, Wijers, who was joined by CFO Rob Frohn, said that the company will maintain a solid investment grade rating in the single A- to BBB+ range and also revealed that a new dividend policy will be introduced—a minimum payout ratio of 45% of net income before incidentals—with the 2007 interim dividend proposal to be increased from EUR 0.30 per share to EUR 0.40 per share. The ex-interim dividend trading date remains unchanged at October 24, 2007.
, Wijers elaborated on the 2008/2009 capital return program, with a EUR 2 billion share buyback planned to start in the second half of next year. In addition, a return of paid-in capital of EUR 1 billion is scheduled upon completion of the share buyback (both subject to shareholder approval).
“This is a year of incredible transformation,” said the chairman. “We are fully on track in creating one of the world’s leading industrial companies. We have a strong portfolio of businesses in attractive growth markets and, coupled with the synergies of the ICI integration—which we estimate will result in a total post-tax net present value benefit of approximately EUR 2.5 billion after implementation costs—and our plans to further improve operational excellence, we should be able to outgrow our markets and deliver EBITDA margins in the upper half of our peer group.”
added that the new company will accelerate organic growth and further improve profitability through operational excellence, with plans in place to build a unique industrial brand. “The new-look company will be the global leader in coatings and specialty chemicals and will have a strong presence on all continents,” he said. “We have the ambition to include top ICI management in the leadership of our new organization and we are preparing for a fast and effective integration.”
went on: “These are historic and exciting times for the company. While we are taking a transformational step, we remain committed to financial discipline and will continue to create medium-term value for our shareholders.”
Wijers and Frohn will be attending a similar Analyst Meeting in New York on Wednesday, while Akzo Nobel shareholders are due to vote on the ICI transaction at an EGM being held in the Netherlands on November 5.