Akzo Nobel seeks shareholder approval for chemicals split

AMSTERDAM, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Akzo Nobel will seek shareholder approval on Thursday to spin off its 10-billion euro chemicals division, part of plans to placate investors after the Dutch paintmaker rejected a takeover offer from rival PPG Industries.

Akzo Nobel clashed with a large part of its shareholder base this year after management refused to negotiate with PPG over a 26 billion-euro ($31 billion) offer.

Akzo said at the time it wanted to "unlock value" by spinning off its chemicals business.

A compulsory six-month cooling off period for PPG expires on Friday, which means PPG could return with another bid. But PPG CEO Michael McGarry has said that PPG has "moved on" from Akzo, and is now seeking other opportunities for growth.

Akzo won a series of legal battles with its disgruntled investors, who sought to oust Chairman Antony Burgmans and demanded negotiations with PPG. But Akzo has struggled to follow through on promises of growth as a stand-alone company.

Shareholders are expected to approve a spin off of the chemical division, which has an estimated value of up to 10 billion euros. They are due to vote on the demerger at an extraordinary shareholders meeting starting at 1300 GMT in Amsterdam.

In October, Akzo warned its operating profit would not grow at all this year, marking its second profit downgrade in as many months.

The company also lost CEO Ton Buechner in the summer, who stepped down for health reasons.

New Chief Executive Thierry Vanlancker has tried to do a deal with smaller U.S. paints maker Axalta. But merger talks ended abruptly after several weeks when Axalta received a better offer from Japanese rival Nippon Paint. ($1 = 0.8451 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Jane Merriman)