media release

Akzo Nobel restructures Surface Chemistry in North America and Europe

Press Release - Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry has started an efficiency improvement program, primarily affecting its European and North American surfactants operations. The program aims to strengthen Surface Chemistry’s position in the segments where it operates.

Strengthening surfactants operations

Arnhem, the Netherlands, June 3, 2003 – Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry, a business unit within the Company’s Chemicals group, has started an efficiency improvement program, primarily affecting its European and North American surfactants operations. The program aims to strengthen Surface Chemistry’s position in the segments where it operates.

The measures will result in a total staff reduction of approximately 200 employees, made up of approximately 120 people in North America and approximately 80 in Europe. In North America, the reduction will be primarily in production with some reduction in administration, R&D and sales. In Europe, however, the changes will primarily occur in administration, R&D and sales.

In recent years Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry has carried out large investments in Europe, the United States and Asia. This included the acquisition of the Industrial Specialties business from Crompton Corporation, in June 2002, which established the basis for further growth in important market segments such as fabric care, cleaning, agro-surfactants and oilfield chemicals.

“The steps we are taking will improve our efficiency in meeting needs of these markets,” said Rob Frohn, General Manager of Surface Chemistry. “In combination with the expanded base, we will come out as an even stronger player in this increasingly competitive market.”

“Specialty surfactants is one of Akzo Nobel's businesses we would like to continue to grow. There has been strong organic growth in virtually all segments. It's our ambition to profitably outgrow the markets we choose to compete in,” added Dag Strömqvist, Member of Akzo Nobel’s Board of Management responsible for Chemicals.

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