Flight data shows PPG Industries may have renewed interest in Axalta Coating (update)

Jun. 05, 2022 2:38 PM ETPPG Industries, Inc. (PPG), AXTAKSANF, ASH, NPCPF, AKZOFBy: Joshua Fineman, SA News Editor10 Comments

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Update 2:40pm: Adds PPG declined to comment.

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) may be showing renewed interest in acquiring car-paint maker Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE:AXTA) after a previous attempt in 2020 never came to fruition.

Two recent flights last month by PPG (PPG) executives to Philadelphia, Axalta's (AXTA) corporate headquarters, may be an indication of PPG's interest in Axalta, according to data from a flight tracking analytics company sent to investors and viewed by Seeking Alpha. The flights indicated a potential overnight stay by the PPG executives.

Axalta (AXTA) was reportedly close to being acquired by PPG and private equity firm Clayton Dubilier for about $7.5 billion in early 2020 before the pandemic started. Axalta in late March 2020 announced that it had concluded its review of strategic alternatives due to market conditions caused by the pandemic after in-depth discussions with a number of interested parties. Bloomberg reported in July 2019 that Japan's Kansai Paint Co. (OTCPK:KSANF) and PPG (PPG) were interested in bidding for Axalta.

The report on the plane spotting also highlighted that Axalta (AXTA) hired Keith Silverman as its new chief supply & operations officer in January. The hiring is of note as Silverman left Ashland (ASH) in November 2020, where CEO Guillermo Novo is also a member of PPG's board.

This was not Axalta's (AXTA) first takeover attempt. Recall in 2017 Japan's Nippon Paint (OTCPK:NPCPF) tried to purchase Axalta, but was rebuffed. Akzo Nobel (OTCQX:AKZOF) also was in discussions to purchase Axalta (AXTA), though the talks collapsed.

PPG declined to comment to Seeking Alpha, citing a policy of note discussing rumors or market speculation. Axalta didn't return Seeking Alpha email requests for comment left before normal business hours on Sunday.

PPG (PPG) is based in Pittsburgh and has a market cap of $30.4 billion and its shares have fallen 31% over the past year, while Philadelphia-based Axalta (AXTA) has a market cap of $6.15 billion and its stock has dropped 17% over the past year.

Last Tuesday, PPG (PPG) was initiated with a sell equivalent rating at Credit Suisse, saying the paint maker was vulnerable to rising rates.

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