Dutch firm Akzo Nobel to cut 3,500 jobs: Report

London, September 30: | Updated: Sep 30 2008, 21:16pm hrs
World's biggest paints company, Akzo Nobel, the Dutch owner of ICI paints is planning to cut 3,500 jobs, in a move to cope with a fall in consumer demand for its products, says a media report.

Akzo, which acquired ICI, the maker of Dulux paints, for eight billion pound in January, said that the company had to take such action to save about 80 million pound, The Times reported.

The company employs 43,000 people in more than 80 countries, including 4,500 in Britain in its coatings and paint divisions, the report said.

Times quoted Akzo Nobel chief executive Hans Wijers as saying that the job cuts would be made across the decorative paints business and then mainly in North America and Europe and should be completed by 2011.

In these challenging markets, only lean companies

succeed. We have, therefore, started a rigorous drive to reduce our cost base, Wijers added.

According to Wijers, along with the economic downturn in the US and Britain, there were also clear indications of a slowdown in Southern Europe, Germany and in some emerging markets. Akzo group's share buyback would also be deferred because of the uncertainty in the financial markets, The Times report said.

The Times quoted Keith Nichols, Akzo's chief financial officer, as saying that the company had to refinance debt that involved an 800 million pound bond due to mature in December and another one billion pound to mature in May 2009, including some debt inherited from ICI.