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AkzoNobel: earnings up, but outlook weighs on shares

( - Robust pricing initiatives and cost-saving programs helped Dutch chemicals group AkzoNobel to post a 9% rise in first-quarter operating profit, but its shares fell after the company issued a rather cautious outlook.

The paints and coatings maker said adjusted operating rose to 163 million euros in the first three months of the year, from 149 million euros one year earlier, on revenue that is up 2% at 2.18 billion euros.

But AkzoNobel also said that it expects raw material cost inflation to continue in the first half of 2019, and noted some "macro-economic uncertainty."

"Volume pressures in China and performance coatings could be short term," UBS analysts commented, noting that the group plans to continue to focus on price over volume to improve margins.

The shares were down 2.4% at 77.7 euros on Euronext Amsterdam after this report.

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