Note F: Shareholders’ equity

Subscribed share capital

The holders of common shares are entitled to receive dividends as declared from time to time and are entitled to one vote per share at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders. The holders of the priority shares are entitled to a dividend of 6% per share or the statutory interest in the Netherlands, whichever is lower, plus any accrued and unpaid dividends. They are entitled to 200 votes per share (in accordance with the 200 times higher nominal value per share) at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders. In addition, the holders of priority shares have the right to draw up binding lists of nominees for appointment to the Supervisory Board and the Board of Management; amendments to the Articles of Association are subject to the approval of the Meeting of Holders of Priority Shares.

Priority shares may only be transferred to a transferee designated by a Meeting of Holders of Priority Shares and against payment of the par value of the shares, plus interest at the rate of 6% per annum or the statutory interest in the Netherlands, whichever is lower, for the period between the beginning of the year and the date of transfer. There are no restrictions on voting rights of holders of common or priority shares. The Articles of Association set out procedures for exercising voting rights. The Annual General Meeting of shareholders has resolved in 2018 to authorize the Board of Management for a period of 18 months (i) To issue shares (or grant rights to shares) in the capital of the company up to a maximum of 10%, which in case of mergers or acquisitions can be increased by up to a maximum of 10%, of the total number of shares outstanding (and to restrict or exclude the pre-emptive rights to those shares) and (ii) To acquire shares in the capital of the company, provided that the shares that will at any time be held will not exceed 10% of the issued share capital. The issue or repurchase of shares requires the approval of the Supervisory Board.

We held no common shares at year-end 2018 or 2017.

Of the Shareholders’ equity of €11.8 billion, an amount of €11.1 billion (2017: €5.1 billion) was unrestricted and available for distribution – subject to the relevant provisions of our Articles of Association and Dutch law. The cash flow hedge reserve is individually considered to be restricted if leading to an increase of Shareholders’ equity at year-end.

Statutory reserves have been recognized following Article 373 paragraph 4 of Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code. At the Annual General Meeting of shareholders of April 26, 2001, an amendment to the Articles of Association was approved whereby the par value of the priority shares was decreased to €400 and of the common shares and the cumulative preferred shares to €2. As the revised nominal values are lower than the original par values, in accordance with Article 67a of Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code, we recognize a statutory reserve of €61 million for this reduction in subscribed share capital. Statutory reserves also include €42 million for capitalized development costs, as well as the reserves of €145 million relating to earnings retained by subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures after 1983, to the extent that there are limitations for AkzoNobel to arrange profit distributions.

Unrestricted reserves at year-end

In € millions



Shareholders' equity at year-end



Sub­scribed share capital



Subsidiaries' restrictions to transfer funds



Statutory reserve due to capital reduction



Reserve for development costs



Cash flow hedge reserve


Unrestricted reserves




In line with our announcement on April 19, 2017, we intend to return the vast majority of the net proceeds from the separation of the Specialty Chemicals business to our shareholders. The Extraordinary General Meeting of November 13, 2018, approved to return an amount of €2.0 billion to shareholders by means of a capital repayment and share consolidation which was executed in January 2019. A share consolidation ratio of 9:8 was applied. We will distribute €1.0 billion by means of a special cash dividend of €4.50 per common share (post consolidation) on February 25, 2019. A share buyback program to repurchase common shares up to the value of €2.5 billion is due to be completed at the end of 2019. We intend to cancel these shares after repurchase.

With due observance of Dutch law and the Articles of Association, it is proposed that net income of €6,254 million is carried to the other reserves. Furthermrore, with due observance of article 43, paragraph 7, it is proposed that dividend on priority shares of €1,152 and on common shares of €420 million (to be increased by dividend on shares issued in 2019 before the ex-dividend date) will be distributed. Following the acceptance of this proposal, the holders of common shares will receive a dividend of €1.80 per share, of which €0.37 was paid earlier as an interim dividend. The final dividend of €1.43 per share will be made available from May 6, 2019.