Paint maker to shed 3 500 jobs amid downturn

World's biggest paint maker to cut 3,500 jobs in Europe and the US because of the economic downturn

Dutch chemicals group Akzo Nobel, which bought ICI earlier this year, is to shed 3,500 jobs in a drive to cut costs.

Most of the job losses will be made in the decorative-paints business, mainly in North America and Europe, and should be completed by 2011, the company said.

It was not made clear exactly where the cuts would fall in particular countries.

Akzo Nobel is the world’s biggest paint company and produces brands including Dulux, Sikkens and Flexa. The company has been hit by a slowdown in its North American and European markets, in large part as a result of the housing market slump.

Chief executive Hans Wijers said that, apart from the slowdown in both the US and the UK, there were clear signals of a slowdown in southern Europe, Germany and in some emerging markets.

Akzo Nobel has transformed its business in the past year, divesting its pharmaceuticals unit Organon to US-based Schering Plough and using the proceeds to buy the UK's ICI for £8bn.

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