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UPDATE 1-Akzo Nobel core profit beats as sales recover from coronavirus slump

(Adds details from statement)

AMSTERDAM, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Dutch paints and coatings maker Akzo Nobel reported on Wednesday a better-than-expected 18% jump in third-quarter core profit to 353 million euros ($418.16 million), as sales recovered from the deep fall due to the coronavirus crisis earlier this year.

Total revenues inched up 1% to 2.28 billion euros, stripped from currency fluctuations, showing a significant improval from previous months in which Akzo lost about a quarter of its sales due to economic lockdowns enforced across the globe.

Analysts polled by the company had expected adjusted operating income to increase to 339.6 million euros, on 2.26 billion euros in sales.

Akzo said the good results would enable it to buy back an additional 300 million euros worth of its own shares through the second half of next year.

The maker of the Dulux and Flexa brands of paints, which supplies to sectors ranging from aerospace to yachts, said demand for its decorative paints had been strong in the July-September period, offset by lower sales volumes of performance coatings.

“Headwinds related to COVID-19 continued to ease, although demand trends differ per region and segment in an uncertain macro-economic environment,” Chief Executive Officer Thierry Vanlancker said.

Akzo last month already flagged an improvement in sales during the third quarter, as it predicted revenues to be close to the previous year in constant currencies. ($1 = 0.8442 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer, Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Rashmi Aich)

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