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Will jobs be lost at Stowmarket paint factories as PPG pursues buyout of AkzoNobel?

PUBLISHED: 10:13 01 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:13 01 May 2017

Signs for the PPG and AkzoNobel paint factories, Stowmarket. Picture: MATT REASON

Signs for the PPG and AkzoNobel paint factories, Stowmarket. Picture: MATT REASON

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Concerns that paint factory jobs are at risk at two of Stowmarket’s largest employers have been raised, as one of the businesses looks at buying out the other.

Entrance to the PPG paint factory, Stowmarket. Picture: MATT REASON Entrance to the PPG paint factory, Stowmarket. Picture: MATT REASON

American chemicals giant PPG, owners of the Stowmarket paint factory which makes automotive paints, are looking to buy out Dutch-owned AkzoNobel, owners of the neighbouring factory known for making Dulux paints.

The two companies both sit on the former ICI paint factory, and together are one of central Suffolk’s largest industries.

Concerns have been raised that a merger between the two would lead to job losses in Stowmarket, with PPG refusing to guarantee jobs in AkzoNobel’s European paint factories.

PPG have made a third and final “friendly” offer to the board of AkzoNobel, with the previous two offers rebuffed, partly on the grounds that jobs would be put at risk.

Nick Gowrley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader and councillor for the town said: “We fully expect the current offer to be rejected again.”

He said that if there was a takeover, the council will act to try and ensure that jobs are maintained.

There are concerns that even if the offer is turned down PPG will pursue a “hostile” takeover bid, with many of AkzoNobel’s shareholders piling pressure on the company to accept the offer from PPG.

Representatives of the employees of Dutch-based AkzoNobel stated the PPG offer contains “significant uncertainties and risks” to employees.

In PPG’s latest offer, chairman Michael McGarry said they would create “extraordinary value and benefits for all of AkzoNobel’s stakeholders”.

Last year PPG announced plans for 1,700 job cuts worldwide and has previously made cuts when acquiring other businesses.

Stowmarket Town Council clerk David Blackburn said the council would be concerned if the merger led to job losses in the town.

“We would hope that both existing levels of employment are kept as they are and every effort is made to invest in the business,” he said. “We would hope that there is not any asset stripping or less employment as a result.”

PPG have publicly committed to continuing with the production of Dulux if they buy out AkzoNobel. When asked by this newspaper, they made no comment on the security of Stowmarket’s jobs.

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