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Our US Operations Lacked 'Critical Mass': Akzo Nobel CEO

Matt Clinch, News Assistant
Friday, 14 Dec 2012 | 5:43 AM ET

The boss of paint maker Akzo Nobel has told CNBC he is "excited to be back" after his temporary departure from the firm and has revealed the U.S. arm of the business will be sold off to focus on Europe and high growth markets.

Mark Weiss | Digital Vision | Getty Images

Share price in the Dulux maker lagged in September following confirmation by the firm that CEO Ton Buchner would extend his sick leave due to "temporary fatigue".

Buchner told CNBC Friday that his was now fit and ready to lead the company to focus on organic growth, return on investment, and cash flows going forward.

"I'm fit, I'm very much back, very excited to be back and ready to take further decisions," he said, confirming that there will be no management restructuring at the world's largest paints maker for the next 12 to 18 months.

The North American arm of the business, which sells the Glidden brand in the United States, has long been a drag on Akzo Nobel's performance and has only recently turned around.

Akzo Nobel CEO: I'm Back, Fit and Ready for Business
Ton Büchner, CEO of Akzo Nobel, tells CNBC that the company is selling its US operations as it lacks critical mass in North America and would require significant additional funding to be profitable.

It was confirmed on Friday that U.S.-listed PPG Industries will buy the business for $1.05 billion and Akzo Nobel said it would receive cash proceeds of about $875 million from the sale.

"Akzo Nobel's presence in the decorative paints business in the United States lacks its critical mass," he said.

"It would require significant additional funding to bring it up to a position where it wanted to be."

Shares in the firm were over 5 percent higher in morning trading on Friday.

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