Wattyl moves to Danish owner

02/03/2021

Over 50 jobs at Wattyl’s Kilburn paint manufacturing site are now safe after the 106-year-old company was sold to a Danish multinational last Friday, according to a indaily.com.au report.

Wattyl Australia and New Zealand was sold to Danish multinational, Hempel Group, with the new owner reporting it has no plans to close the Churchill Rd manufacturing site or reduce employment numbers.

Last week the company announced it had purchased the Wattyl business from US paint giant Sherwin-Williams. The move is part of Hempel’s bid to double revenue to $4.6 billion (3 billion euros) by 2025 and increase its presence in South East Asia, according to the report.

Founded in 1915, Wattyl is currently headquartered in Sydney and has manufacturing sites in Kilburn and the Melbourne suburb of Footscray.

It also has five distribution centres and nearly 100 company-owned stores, 750 employees and annual revenue of about $230 million.

Hempel President and Chief Executive Officer, Lars Petersson, said in the report that the acquisition was part of the group’s ‘Double Impact’ strategy to grow its paint segments and would not lead to a reduction in employment numbers at Kilburn.

The Wattyl business model aligned well with Hempel’s challenges in Australia and New Zealand, which included its lack of local production and distribution, he said.

“Hempel has no plans of closing the manufacturing site in Kilburn as a consequence of the acquisition, but naturally we cannot give any guarantees as we will adjust our company to the current market we operate in. Wattyl is a leading brand with a strong distribution set-up with its own store network, key Independent Trade Centres and strategic distribution partnerships servicing the DIY and trade consumers,” Mr Petersson said.

“We are going for leadership positions in selected segments and geographies, and we aim to double our revenue within five years to EUR 3 billion,” he said.

Sydney-based Managing Director Matt Crossingham, said it was business as usual following the acquisition.

“We are still the same Wattyl – proudly made right here in Australia for Australian and New Zealand conditions. Our heritage of over 100 years of locally manufactured protection and innovation continues,” Mr Crossingham said.

“We are looking forward to contributing to Hempel’s growth and development – not only in Australia and New Zealand – but throughout the South and East Asia region,” he said in the indaily.com report.

The sale is expected to close before the end of March, subject to customary closing conditions.

picture source: indaily.com.au

The Wattyl business became part of Sherwin-Williams through the 2017 acquisition of The Valspar Corporation. Valspar bought the previously ASX-listed Wattyl in 2010.

Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams is the world’s largest paint and coatings company and had been courting potential Wattyl buyers since mid-2020.

Sherwin-Williams Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, John G. Morikis said the decision to divest Wattyl was based on its “ability to meet our performance criteria and for their long-term strategic fit”.