Dulux owner AkzoNobel is hit as painters take a break


Dulux owner AkzoNobel saw its balance sheet painted red in 2012, as fewer people redecorated their homes across Europe.

While revenues for the year rose 5%, the struggling paints and chemicals group today revealed an operating loss of €1.7 billion  (£1.5 billion) for last year, largely due to a €2.5 billion writedown on its decorative paints division in October.

Chief executive Ton Büchner announced the long-awaited turnaround strategy, saying the firm “will focus on customer service and operational excellence, creating value for all our stakeholders”.

The firm said it was on track to complete cost-cutting measures worth €500 million this year, a year earlier than forecast, and planned to downsize the management team.

The firm sold its struggling North American decorative paints arm to United States rival PPG Industries in December for $1.1 billion  (£711 million).