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Akzo Nobel buys MAC

Dutch chemicals giant Akzo Nobel has acquired US paint firm MAC Speciality Coatings, dampening speculation that it was set to offload its Sikkens refinish division.

Rudy van der Meer, Akzo Nobel board member responsible for coatings, said: “This acquisition strengthens our overall position in the US market for vehicle refinishes.”

Industry speculation suggested Sherwin Williams, the US refinish company known to be looking at the European market, would make an approach for Akzo Nobel.

One source said: “Sikkens is not doing well on refinish, but Akzo Nobel has a strong decorative business. It could swap refinish for Sherwin's decorative side, which would be an ideal alternative to outright purchase.”

Sherwin Williams made its first move into Europe last year with the acquisition of Italian firm Scott Warren.

The company was forced to hold back from further investment while the refinish industry underwent a period of consolidation in the late 1990s.

American giant DuPont bought Herberts' Standox and Spies Hecker brands from German chemicals firm Hoechst, while PPG acquired ICI Autocolor and Max Meyer.

The activity left the two BASF brands, Glasurit and R-M, and Akzo Nobel Sikkens, though all three companies have stated that they are not take-over targets.

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