Akzo Nobel Ups Offer For ICI

$24.49 billion newest bid for Imperial Chemical Industries; Akzo wants to add ICI's paint business to its own.

LONDON (AP) - Dutch chemicals and industrial coatings maker Akzo Nobel NV sweetened its offer for Imperial Chemical Industries PLC on Monday after the British company rejected earlier offers.

The 12 billion-pound offer ($24.49 billion) values ICI, the maker of Dulux paints, at about 670 pence ($13.67) a share plus dividends, up from 8 billion pounds ($16.3 billion).

Akzo and a German partner, Henkel KGaA, are now conducting due diligence on ICI that is expected to be completed within days.

If the review of ICI's business and financial information goes well, the deal will be announced by an Aug. 9 deadline set by British takeover regulators, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend.

ICI last week rejected a sweetened 7.8 billion pound ($15.8 billion) bid from Akzo, saying but added that talks continue.

Akzo, whose brands include Crown Paints, wants to add ICI's paint business to its own and plans to sell ICI's adhesives business to German chemical company Henkel KGaA.

The Dutch company has struck an exclusivity deal with the German business over the sale, and says the tie-up would allow more cash to be returned to shareholders.

Shares in ICI gained 1.3 percent to 639.63 pence ($13.06) in London. Akzo Nobel rose 0.2 percent to 59.66 euros ($82.21) in Amsterdam.

ICI last week reported a strong rise in second-quarter net profit despite increasing raw material costs and said the outlook for the year remained positive.

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