AMSTERDAM - AkzoNobel reported fourth-quarter and full-year results including the successful delivery on 2015 financial targets. Full-year operating income increased 59 percent to €1,573 million (excluding incidentals up 36 percent at €1,462 million), as a result of process optimization, lower costs, reduced restructuring expenses, favorable currency developments and incidental items.

Commenting on the results, CEO Ton Büchner said, "We successfully achieved our 2015 financial targets in what was a record year for AkzoNobel in a number of areas including return on sales, return on investment and sustainability. The proposed increase of the total dividend is also a clear sign that we are more confident about our cash-flow generation.

“Looking ahead, we expect 2016 to be a challenging year and anticipate limited support from the markets in which we operate. We will continue to build on our foundation of operational excellence, adding organic growth and innovation to the next phase of our strategy, creating everyday essentials to make lives more livable and inspiring."

In Decorative Paints, full-year operating income increased by 39 percent as a result of the new operating model, lower costs, reduced restructuring expenses and currency developments. Revenue was up 3 percent due to favorable currencies offsetting adverse price/mix and volumes. Volumes were down 1 percent overall for the full-year, with positive developments in Asia offset by Latin America and Europe.

In Performance Coatings, full-year operating income was up 45 percent, due to performance improvement initiatives, management delayering, lower costs, reduced restructuring expenses and currencies. Revenue was up 7 percent, driven by favorable price/mix and currencies offsetting lower volumes. Volumes were down 2 percent across the segments, impacted by lower demand in Brazil and ongoing spending declines in the global oil and gas industry.

In Specialty Chemicals, full-year operating income was up 20 percent due to continuous improvement programs, favorable currency effects, lower costs and incidental items. Revenue was up 2 percent due to favorable currency effects, partly offset by the divestment of the Paper Chemicals business and adverse price effects. Overall volumes were flat.

Looking forward, the company expects 2016 to be a challenging year. Difficult market conditions continue in Brazil, China and Russia. No significant improvement is anticipated in Europe, particularly in the Buildings and Infrastructure segment. Deflationary pressures continue and currency tailwinds are moderating.