AMSTERDAM - Akzo Nobel N.V. reported third quarter results that show positive developments in profitability in all three business areas, despite a challenging market environment.
Third quarter operating income increased 30 percent to €436 million, reflecting the positive effects of process optimization, lower costs, reduced restructuring expenses and favorable currency developments. Revenue of €3,760 million was up 2 percent compared with the same period last year, due to favorable currency effects, offset by divestments and slightly lower volumes. Return on sales improved to 11.6 percent, while return on investment rose to 12.5 percent.
CFO Maëlys Castella, commented, "We continue to see the benefits of our ongoing business transformation, including our new organizational structure and focus on operational excellence. During Q3, we saw increased profitability across all three of our business areas, despite the challenging market conditions. Our focus on sustainability was recognized as we maintained our number-one position on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fourth consecutive year. We remain on track to deliver our 2015 targets."
Decorative Paints operating income improved by 7 percent due to the new operating model, lower costs and currency developments. Revenue was flat, with favorable currency effects being offset by adverse price/mix. Volumes were up in Asia, while volumes were down for Latin America and Europe, which includes Russia and Turkey.
Performance Coatings operating income was up 56 percent, driven by cost reductions from performance improvement initiatives, lower costs, favorable product mix, lower restructuring charges and favorable currency developments. Revenue was up 5 percent, benefiting from favorable currencies and continued strong demand for premium products. Volumes declined in the quarter due to ongoing capital spending declines in the global oil and gas industry, and further weakening in some markets, most notably Brazil and China.
Specialty Chemicals operating income was up 4 percent, supported by the benefits from further increased production at its new Frankfurt plant, lower costs and operational efficiencies throughout the business. Revenue was flat due to favorable currency effects offsetting the impact of the divested Paper Chemicals business and adverse price/mix in several segments. Volumes overall were flat. Growth in some segments compensated for lower demand in oil drilling segments, which mainly impacted Surface Chemistry and Functional Chemicals.