Akzo Nobel's Decorative Coatings business has initiated the latest phase of its competitive European expansion strategy by signing an agreement to acquire Swiss Lack, Switzerland's leading paint company. The deal, which will see Akzo Nobel become the biggest coatings company in Switzerland, includes taking over Swiss Lack's brand portfolio, as well as its large commercial distribution network.

Due to be completed by the end of 2005, the transaction comes several months after Akzo Nobel strengthened its extensive European market presence with similar acquisitions in Germany (e.g., wholesalers Timpe & Mock), and France.

Given the increasingly competitive market, the latest deal represents a key acquisition which will further advance the Coatings group's plans for significant growth and obtaining leadership positions.

"This deal represents another important milestone in consolidating one of the fundamental cornerstones of our global strategy," says Rudy van der Meer, member of Akzo Nobel's Board of Management responsible for coatings. "Expanding our European distribution network is critical to our success and, allied to the company's other innovative expertise in the formulation, production and marketing of paint, it will ensure that we continue to strengthen our leading status in the industry."

Based in Reussbühl south of Zurich, Swiss Lack manufactures Switzerland's leading paint brand, Swiss Lack, and had estimated sales in 2004 of EUR 45 million. By taking over the business, Akzo Nobel will significantly increase its current share in the attractive Swiss market.

"The acquisition of Swiss Lack will not only boost the distribution network we already have in Switzerland, but will also more than double our current market share," adds Leif Abildgaard, general manager of Akzo Nobel's Decorative Coatings Europe business. "Having recently expanded our paint distribution network in Germany and France, this is a further step towards establishing a more significant presence for our company in other European markets."