Akzo Nobel reports profits up sharply

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Dutch-Swedish chemical group Akzo Nobel said on Thursday its first-quarter profit soared 58 percent, a result in keeping with its "medium-term strategic ambitions."

The company said it posted a three months to March net profit of 128 million euros ($187 million) on sales of 3.76 billion euros, up 16 percent as volumes increased 7.0 percent.

The company, the world's biggest paints manufacturer, said the results reflected its solid presence "in markets with great potential ... and a pick up in growth in the mature economies.

The paints division saw sales rise 13 percent in the first quarter, with industrial coatings up 18 percent.

Akzo Nobel noted that raw material prices were up considerably in the period, increasing 15 percent and continuing to rise, forcing the company to both cut costs and pass on some of the increase to customers.

The company said it was confident in the outlook.

© 2011 AFP

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