Akzo Nobel, Dutch pharmaceuticals, coatings and chemicals company, reports first quarter net earnings of €164 million, a considerable 30 per cent below the first quarter of 2002.
In presenting the report this week, Akzo Nobel's CFO Fritz Fröhlich said: "All groups were severely impacted by negative currency movements, especially the lower US dollar. Pension charges were higher. On top of that we experienced a significant increase in generic competition in our human healthcare business Organon.
The combined forces of these strong headwinds have triggered a 30 per cent decline against a very strong first quarter last year."
Moving quickly to counterbalance the weaker results, Akzo said on Tuesday that it is actively restructuring to bring costs back in line with its earnings developments.
"Coatings and Chemicals are, excluding the currency and pension effects, delivering improved operational performance. They are benefiting from the stringent cost saving and restructuring programmes we implemented," added Fröhlich.
Akzo warned that the outlook for the full year remains significantly below 2002.