AkzoNobel and Axalta Coating Systems have confirmed they are in talks to merge into a $30-billion per year manufacturing entity. AkzoNobel on October 30 issued a short statement on the topic, and added that its previously revealed plan to spin off its Specialty Chemicals business is proceeding as planned. The news comes after AkzoNobel refused overtures from US-based PPG, which approached the Dutch firm with three merger offers this spring. AkzoNobel management declined to negotiate these, and its refusal to deal with PPG led to a lawsuit brought by a hedge fund that briefly became AkzoNobel’s largest shareholder. Following PPG’s first offer, AkzoNobel presented an alternative plan to expand revenues, involving the spinoff of its Specialty Chemicals business as a separate entity. AkzoNobel, which reported 14.2-billion euros in revenue in 2016, owns brands including International Paint, Devoe High Performance Coatings and Resicoat in the protective and marine segment, and Dulux, Sikkens and Interpon Powder Coatings in the architectural and commercial market. Axalta, which formed when DuPont Performance Coatings rebranded in 2013, primarily offers products for the automotive OEM, automotive refinish and industrial markets. The company reported net sales of about $4.1-billion in 2016. Both AkzoNobel and Axalta reported revenue growth in the third quarter of 2017, in reports issued in early October. AkzoNobel’s total revenues were up about one percent over 2016 numbers, while Axalta’s revenues were up 6.8 percent versus the third quarter of 2016. Axalta, in a media statement, said: “Axalta will pursue such a transaction only if its Board of Directors determines that it is in the best interest of Axalta to do so. There can be no assurances that a definitive agreement between the parties will be reached or on what terms.” Axalta announced a series of acquisitions this year, including: UK-based Plascoat Systems Ltd., a thermoplastic polyolefin coatings manufacturer; California-based Ellis Paints, a manufacturer of industrial and auto refinish coatings; Florida-based Century Industrial Coatings, a supplier of coatings for structural steel, oil and gas and other applications; UK-based Spencer Coatings Group, which produces coatings for heavy-duty equipment, general industrial and oil and gas; and the North American wood Coatings unit of Valspar, which that company was required to divest as part of its larger acquisition by Sherwin-Williams. www.axalta.com