media release

AkzoNobel reports record profitability in Q1 2017

Full-year EBIT expected to be around €100 million higher than 2016

Akzo Nobel N.V. (AKZA.AS; AKZOY)

  • Record profitability, with higher EBIT1, return on sales (ROS)2 and return on investment (ROI)3
  • Revenue up across all Business Areas and 7% overall, mainly due to higher volumes and acquisitions
  • Volumes up 4% driven by Decorative Paints and Specialty Chemicals
  • EBIT up in all Business Areas and 13% overall, at €376 million (2016: €334 million), reflecting the positive effects of volume growth, continuous improvement and cost discipline
  • Full-year EBIT expected to be around €100 million higher than 2016, excluding any substantial changes in market conditions
  • Profitability improved, with ROS at 10.3% (2016: 9.7%) and ROI at 15.2% (2016: 14.5%)
  • Adjusted earnings per share up 8% at €1.05 (2016: €0.97)
  • Net cash outflow from operating activities improved to €287 million (2016: €336 million)
  • €150 million share repurchase program underway: €144 million completed up to March 31, 2017
  • A strategy update including further details of the proposed separation of Specialty Chemicals will follow today at 08.00 CET


AkzoNobel continues to anticipate positive developments for EMEA, North America and Asia, improving during the year, while Latin America is expected to stabilize. Market trends experienced in the second part of 2016, including for the marine and oil and gas industries, are expected to continue during the first half of 2017.

The company has structurally improved its ability to respond to developments in its markets and continues taking appropriate measures to deal with higher raw material prices in an inflationary environment. EBIT for 2017 is expected to be around €100 million higher than 2016, as a result of growth momentum and continuous improvement, assuming no material change in market and economic dynamics.

CFO Maëlys Castella:

“Our record performance continued this quarter, showing the substantial growth momentum we have across the business. Significant progress continues across all our Business Areas, reflecting both our strong customer focus and great portfolio of brands.

“We remain focused on increasing returns to shareholders, including a €150 million share repurchase program that began in the quarter.

“We made another industry-leading commitment to sustainability, announcing our ambition to become carbon neutral by 2050 and use 100% renewable energy.

“Our R&D efforts will be strengthened with a new innovation hub at Felling in the UK, and we announced more key partnerships for our Human Cities Program around the world.

“Our strong financial and operational foundation has enabled us to embark on the next phase of our strategy, with a review of options for the separation of the Specialty Chemicals business to further unlock value for shareholders. We look forward to updating the market on our new strategy.”


Q1 2017 in € million   
 Q1 2016Q1 2017Δ %
Return on sales (ROS) %29.710.3 
Return on investment (ROI) %314.515.2 
Net income attributable to shareholders240240-


Decorative Paints:

Revenue was up 7%, mainly driven by strong volume growth. Volumes were up 9%, with positive developments in all regions. Volume developments were positive for the sixth consecutive quarter. EBIT increased by 48%, mainly as a result of higher revenue and continued focus on cost measures, while recognizing that Q1 is a seasonally smaller quarter. Communities in more than 40 countries will benefit from a partnership between AkzoNobel and MasterPeace, a global peace movement, to paint 100 “Walls of Connection,” part of the company’s Let’s Colour initiative.

Performance Coatings:

Revenue was up 6%, driven by positive volume development across a number of segments and the acquisition of BASF’s Industrial Coatings business. EBIT was up 1%, with positive development in segments including Industrial and Powder Coatings and Automotive and Specialty Coatings offsetting continued weak demand in the marine and oil and gas industries and integration costs. More than 100 scientists will be brought together in a new €12.6 million research and innovation hub in Felling, UK. The facility will focus on developing protective coatings for the energy, mining, infrastructure and oil and gas industries.

Specialty Chemicals:

Revenue was up 7%, due to positive volume developments in all business units and regions and favorable currency effects. Volumes were up 5%, with several businesses benefiting from improved market conditions in the oil drilling, mining, agrochemical and building and construction segments. EBIT increased by 7%, mainly due to improved volumes and operational efficiencies, partly offset by price increases which were not yet fully recaptured through increased selling prices.  AkzoNobel’s Imagine Chemistry open innovation challenge generated more than 200 ideas to solve real-life chemistry-related challenges as well as uncovering sustainable commercial opportunities for the Specialty Chemicals businesses. 


AkzoNobel has committed to accelerating its sustainability agenda by announcing a new ambition to use 100% renewable energy and become carbon neutral by 2050. The company was also awarded a top grade on the Influential Supplier Climate A List for its efforts to combat climate change. The Dutch government recognized AkzoNobel’s latest contribution to meeting national sustainability targets resulting from investments at its chemicals complex in Rotterdam.

Human Cities:

AkzoNobel joined forces with SOS Children's Villages to drive a positive impact on youth unemployment including professional training through the company’s painter academies.

More than 200 children in Egypt have benefited from a major renovation of their school’s facilities by AkzoNobel volunteers. The company’s Human Cities projects have touched the lives of more than 9 million people in the past year.


AkzoNobel signed an agreement with specialty chemicals company Itaconix to explore opportunities for the production of bio-based polymers. A new online tool which can track and certify the amount of bio-based raw materials in products was launched as a pilot by AkzoNobel and partners. Another partnership involving AkzoNobel is developing a drone capable of remotely inspecting enclosed spaces, helping to improve safety in the marine and oil and gas industries.

Strategic review:

We announced a review of strategic options for the separation of our Specialty Chemicals business. Further details will follow today at 08.00 CET. 


Business Area highlights in € million

Decorative PaintsQ1 2016Q1 2017Δ %
ROS %26.08.4 
Performance Coatings​Q1 2016Q1 2017Δ %
ROS %213.412.7 
Specialty ChemicalsQ1 2016Q1 2017Δ %
ROS %213.613.7 


More information on our financial guidance can be found here

  1. Operating income excluding identified items.
  2. ROS% is EBIT divided by revenue. 
  3. Moving average ROI% is 12 months EBIT divided by 12 months average invested capital

The Q1 2017 report can be viewed and downloaded here