Akzo Nobel to cut 3,500 jobs

Akzo Nobel, the Dutch parent of ICI Paints, said it plans to cut 3,500 jobs because of turmoil in financial markets and future debt repayments totaling $2.6 billion.

Most of the job cuts will come from the company’s decorative paints business in North America and Europe, the company said.

In a statement to reporters in England today, CEO Hans Wijers said, “After a major transformation process which streamlined and refocused the company, it's now time for us to deliver on what we promised and, in today's very different economic landscape, significantly improve our performance.”

"The world economy has now clearly entered a phase of lower growth, particularly in the mature markets," he said. "In these challenging markets, only lean companies succeed. We have therefore started a rigorous drive to further reduce our cost base."

Akzo’s acquisition of ICI Paints came just as the U.S. housing market had begun to lose traction.

“The U.S. is down for really quite some time,” Wijers noted. “The U.K. added to that and there are parts of Europe where there're also clearly signals of a slowdown, particularly in the southern parts and Germany.''

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