By Christopher Alessi

LONDON--The chief executive of Dutch chemical and paint giant Akzo Nobel NV on Wednesday said investors appeared to respond positively to the company's plan to separate its specialty chemicals business within 12 months.

There was an "initial positive reaction," Ton Buchner said of investors he spoke with directly after a shareholder event.

Mr. Buchner used the event to outline in detail a dual-track strategy for either spinning off the specialty chemicals unit as a separate entity or selling it outright.The announcement comes as Akzo is warding off a $24 billion takeover approach from U.S. rival PPG Industries Inc. and efforts by activist investor Elliott Management Corp. and others to force the Dutch firm to the negotiating table.

Mr. Buchner has refused to speak with PPG's management.

In an interview with the Journal, the CEO said that unlike PPG's takeover proposal, there is a "certainty of execution" around his plan to separate the specialty chemicals division and create value for shareholders.

Write to Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 19, 2017 10:50 ET (14:50 GMT)

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