ARNHEM, The Netherlands — Akzo Nobel announced an agreement to acquire the coatings business of Dexter Corp., a move that will give Akzo Nobel a major global position in aerospace coatings, the company said. The acquisition will effectively double the size of Akzo Nobel’s aerospace-coatings business, and also will strengthen its position in the transportation and specialty coatings sectors in North America.

The sale is the final step in a series of moves in which Dexter has sold all its assets, including its Electronic Materials, Adhesives and Polymers Systems, and Nonwovens Materials businesses. The company also has sold its majority stake in Life Technologies Inc. The breakup of the company was the result of a hostile takeover bid by International Specialty Products.

Based in Waukegan, IL, Dexter’s coatings business also operates manufacturing facilities in Brownsville, TX, and Treviso, Italy. The business, which employs approximately 200 people, supplies coatings for the aerospace and automotive markets, and for other specialized uses. The business reported 1999 revenue of approximately $47 million.

Rudy van der Meer, the member of Akzo Nobel’s board of management with responsibility for coatings, said the acquisition is “clearly in line with our strategic ambition for this business.”