Akzo Nobel in City hire as group plans restructure

Dutch chemicals company Akzo Nobel, which is to demerge and float its pharmaceuticals division, has brought in its first UK financial agency.

Smithfield bagged the brief after a four-way pitch, co-ordinated by Akzo Nobel’s Brussels-based international lead agency Aspect Public Relations.

Smithfield is charged with raising the profile of the Fortune 500 firm’s UK chemicals and coatings business as it streamlines its operation. The firm is the owner of the Crown Paints brand.

The demerged pharma operation, which could be worth as much as £5bn, will operate under the Organon Biosciences moniker.

Smithfield MD John Kiely heads a team of four on the account. According to Smithfield, the City is unaware of the importance of the £45bn coatings industry, and the agency will promote its prospects to business and financial journalists.

Akzo is meeting its global revenue and growth targets but is relying heavily on growth in emerging markets.

The company has recorded particular success in China, where it expects its business to nearly double during the next five years.

Akzo hit the headlines earlier this week with the announcement that its pharma arm was developing a bird-flu vaccine prototype that could be applied to flocks of birds via a spray.

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