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Akzo Nobel Net Profit Dips in First Quarter

Dutch chemicals maker Akzo Nobel said Tuesday its first quarter net profit dipped slightly, but sales and operating profit rose due to a strong performance by its industrial coatings arm.

Net profit was 246 million euros ($335 million), down 1.2% from 249 million euros a year earlier, when the company booked 47 million euros in one-time gains from the sale of a coatings plant near Barcelona. Sales rose 1% to 2.5 billion euros ($3.40 billion).

"Before incidentals, operating income rose 18 percent," the company said in a statement. "Both coatings and chemicals (operations) realized strong autonomous growth and cost savings."

At the company's coatings division, sales rose 8% to 1.55 billion euros ($2.11 billion), and operating profit before incidentals was up 13% at 117 million euros ($159 million) due to the factory sale, Akzo said.

At its chemicals arm, sales rose 1% to 917 million euros ($1.25 billion), while operating profit before incidentals was up 6 percent at 115 million euros ($157 million).

New Jersey-based Schering-Plough Corp. agreed in March to buy Akzo Nobel's pharmaceuticals unit for $14.4 billion (11 billion euros) in cash, but the deal isn't expected to close until late this year.

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