Akzo Nobel issued two press releases this morning. The first press release gives an insight in the phasing of restructuring charges in 2H13. Recall that the company increased FY13 guidance on restructuring charges (which are included in operating income) from € 205m to € 325m at the time of the 2Q results release. As already € 69m charges have been booked in 1H13, another € 256m charges were expected for 2H13. Akzo now comments that the majority of these € 256m costs will be booked in the fourth quarter with over 20% to be booked in the third quarter. All in all, Akzo reiterated its FY13 guidance on operating income which is unlikely to exceed the € 908m level of 2012, which is already incorporated in our and consensus forecasts (KBCS € 857m, consensus € 880m). We will adjust our model to align it with the comments on the timing of restructuring charges between 3Q/4Q.
The second press release of today concerns an announcement to invest over € 50m in China in order to build new manufacturing facilities in the field of Powder Coating and Decorative Paints in the city of Chengdu. The powder facility is scheduled to open in 2014 and the deco site will start production in 2015. Small news.
The high level of restructuring charges, which are included in operating income, will depress 2013 profitability, as expected. As we assumethe pace of restructuring charges to become much lower going forward (2014 and beyond), operating income is expected to significantly grow in the years to come. Visibility on an improvement of underlying market conditions is fairly low, but we consider underlying valuation to be attractive and hence reiterate our Accumulate rating and € 53 target price.