Akzo Nobel has offered to sell businesses in the Nordics and Baltics to obtain clearance for the deal © Bloomberg

Dutch paints and coatings manufacturer Akzo Nobel has offered to buy Finland’s Tikkurila for €1.4bn in an attempt to trump a rival bid by US-based PPG Industries.

Akzo said it would pay €31.25 per share in cash for the Finnish group, almost 13 per cent more than an offer made by PPG earlier this month.

The bid prompted Tikkurila’s shares to jump 17 per cent to €32.80, while Akzo’s fell 2 per cent to €88.12 by Monday afternoon.

The proposed deal would “create superior value compared to any other combination, including growth opportunities for the company and its employees”, said Thierry Vanlancker, Akzo chief executive.

“Akzo Nobel and Tikkurila would have an exciting and sustainable future together, continuing the recent positive momentum and performance improvement, as a global frontrunner in the industry,” he added.

Akzo, whose brands include Dulux paints, said it would sell its decorative paints business in the Nordics and Baltics to Danish group Hempel in order to “obtain merger clearance and ensure deal certainty for Tikkurila and its shareholders”.

PPG had offered €1.1bn in cash for Tikkurila in December in a deal it said it expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

“Joining forces with PPG can help us further accelerate our development with access to new technologies and resources,” Elisa Markula, Tikkurila chief executive, said at the time. 

Yet the US group was forced to increase its offer to €1.24bn in early January “due to Tikkurila’s receipt of a proposal regarding a competing offer”, according to PPG. Mr Vanlancker told reporters Akzo was not the “mystery party that pushed PPG to raise the price”.

Mr Vanlancker later objected to the term “bidding war” during a call with investors, insisting Akzo’s offer represented a “clear view of Tikkurila’s value”.

Tikkurila did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

PPG and Akzo — two of the largest players in the paints and coatings industry — have history. The Dutch group rejected a series of hostile takeover offers from PPG in 2017 despite pressure from many of its largest shareholders. 

PPG’s approaches were rebuffed by Akzo's then chief executive Ton Büchner, who argued the bids undervalued the company’s prospects, risked a lengthy antitrust review and were not in the best interests of the Dutch group’s employees.

PPG eventually abandoned its pursuit following three failed bids and months of bitter negotiations.

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