August 29, 2018 / 10:55 AM / 22 days ago

Axalta CEO predicts large coatings tie-ups over next two years

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The chief executive of Axalta Coating Systems (AXTA.N), one of the world’s largest makers of automotive coatings, predicts the global coatings industry will see major takeovers or mergers over the next two years.

“My view is there will be one or two large consolidation steps in the next two years, but I can’t tell you which they will be. And below the mega-deals, the leading players will continue to do three to five medium-size acquisitions each year,” CEO Charlie Shaver was quoted as saying in an interview posted on the website of consultancy firm McKinsey.

Shaver is set to hand over the top job at the U.S. company to Terrence Hahn next month and will become CEO at the chemicals division of Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel (AKZO.AS), which Akzo has agreed to sell to buyout group Carlyle (CG.O) and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

He added that Axalta, while on the lookout for growth opportunities, did not depend on a partner.

“We aren’t in need of anything. We’re the global market leader in refinish (coatings), we’re global number two in powder coatings and in transportation coatings,” said Shaver.

“We don’t need consolidation to survive or to grow. What is very evident in the coatings industry right now is that there are a number of very active management teams like us looking for ways to continue to grow their companies.”

Axalta, whose largest shareholder is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway BRKa.N., ended talks in December with Japan’s Nippon Paint (4612.T) about a potential sale, after the rejection of what sources said was a $9.1 billion all-cash bid.

That followed aborted talks with rival paint and coatings group Akzo Nobel about a merger. Other large competitors include PPG (PPG.N), Sherwin-Williams (SHW.N) and BASF (BASFn.DE).

Patrick Lambert, an analyst at brokerage Raymond James, said in a note in April that Axalta had become the ideal target for many global coatings companies.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mark Potter

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