Akzo Nobel N.V.: From Humble Beginnings to Global Powerhouse

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 23, 2022
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Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 47,000 people. The company’s portfolio includes well-known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, Coral, and International.

In this article, I’ll look at the history of Akzo Nobel N.V., its operations, and its brand portfolio.

Akzo nobel logo

Behind the Scenes: How AkzoNobel is Organized

AkzoNobel is a leading global company in the paints and coatings industry, producing decorative and industrial paints, protective coatings, specialty chemicals, and powder coatings. The company consists of three main business units:

  • Decorative Paints: This unit produces paints and coatings for consumers and professionals in the decorative market. The brandnames sold under this unit include Dulux, Sikkens, Tintas Coral, Pinotex, and öresund.
  • Performance Coatings: This unit produces coatings for the automotive, aerospace, marine, and oil and gas industries, as well as for equipment repair and transportation. The brandnames sold under this unit include International, Awlgrip, Sikkens, and Lesonal.
  • Specialty Chemicals: This unit produces ingredients for pharmaceuticals, human and animal nutrition, and vaccines. The brandnames sold under this unit include Expancel, Bermocoll, and Berol.

The Corporate Structure

AkzoNobel is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and has activities in more than 150 countries. The company is managed by a board of directors and a managerial team responsible for the day-to-day management of the company.

Geographical Markets

AkzoNobel’s revenues and sales are geographically diversified, with approximately 40% of its sales coming from Europe, 30% from Asia, and 20% from the Americas. The company is profitable in all regions, with the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America following the lead of the more established markets in Europe and Asia.

The Initial Start and Following Acquisitions

AkzoNobel was initially found in 1994 following the merger of Akzo and Nobel Industries. Since then, the company has grown through a series of acquisitions, including:

  • In 2008, AkzoNobel acquired ICI, a British paints and chemicals company, for approximately €12.5 billion.
  • In 2010, AkzoNobel acquired the powder coatings business of Rohm and Haas for approximately €110 million.
  • In 2016, AkzoNobel announced the sale of its specialty chemicals unit to the Carlyle Group and GIC for approximately €10.1 billion.

The AkzoNobel Brand

AkzoNobel is known for its high-quality paints and coatings, and the company is a leading producer of decorative and industrial coatings worldwide. The company’s brandnames are recognized globally, and its products are used in a wide range of industries, including automotive, marine, and aerospace.

The Future of AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel is committed to producing sustainable coatings and has set a target to become carbon neutral and use 100% renewable energy by 2050. The company is also investing in new technologies and markets, such as the automotive and pharma industries. In 2019, AkzoNobel opened a new research center in Beijing, China, to develop new coatings for the Chinese market.

The Long and Colorful History of Akzo Nobel N.V.

Akzo Nobel N.V. has a rich history that dates back to 1899 when a German chemical manufacturer called Vereinigte Glanzstoff-Fabriken was established. The firm specialized in producing technical fiber and paints. In 1929, Vereinigte merged with a Dutch rayon manufacturer, Nederlandsche Kunstzijdefabriek, resulting in the formation of AKU. The new company continued to produce fiber and expanded its product line to include compound and salt.

Becoming a Chemical Giant

In the years that followed, AKU continued to grow and achieve highly in the chemical industry. The firm acquired several businesses and formed mergers with other chemical groups, including the establishment of a polymer unit called AKZO in 1969. This merger resulted in the formation of Akzo NV, which would later become Akzo Nobel N.V. In 1994, Akzo Nobel N.V. acquired the majority of the shares of Nobel Industries, a UK-based chemical manufacturer, resulting in the current name of the company.

Playing a Critical Role in the World Market

Today, Akzo Nobel N.V. plays an important role in the world market, with its headquarters located in Amsterdam. The firm has solidified its position as a leading manufacturer of chemicals, delivering products directly to customers in various parts of the world. The company continues to produce fiber, polymer, and compound, among other forms of chemicals, and maintains a highly technical and innovative approach to its work.

Manufacturing in Various Parts of the World

Akzo Nobel N.V. has factories located in various parts of the world, including the town of Salt in the UK, where the firm started its business. The company produces a wide range of products, including food compounds, building materials, and stock preparation chemicals. Akzo Nobel N.V. achieves highly in the manufacture of long polymer chains known as polymers, which are critical in the production of various products.

Continuing to Innovate and Grow

Over the years, Akzo Nobel N.V. has continued to innovate and grow, maintaining its position as a leader in the chemical industry. The firm has expanded its product line to include various forms of chemicals and has maintained a highly technical approach to its work. Today, Akzo Nobel N.V. is known for its commitment to quality and innovation, and its products are used in various industries around the world.


So that’s Akzo Nobel N.V.! They’re a leading global company that produces paints and coatings for the automotive, marine, aerospace, and industrial markets. They’re known for their high-quality products and have been in business for over a century. They’re committed to producing sustainable coatings and have set a target to use 100% renewable energy by 2050. So, if you’re looking for paints and coatings, you can’t go wrong with Akzo Nobel N.V.!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.