Philly paint: Axalta buys UK, China, Africa plants

Axalta Coating Systems, the Philadelphia-based maker of auto and industrial paints and powdered coatings, says it has agreed to buy U.K.-based Spencer Coatings Group, a private company with offices in Aberdeen, Scotland, and plants in Nottinghamshire, England; Shangdong, China; and Nigeria; plus sales offices. 

Axalta and Spencer haven't disclosed the sale price. Both companies have lately grown through acquisition, including Axalta's $420 million deal to buy Valspar's North American wood-paints group last month. Spencer products include Acothane polyurethane sealers, ship paints, linseed oil-based colors for artists,  and many others.

The DuPont Co., which has been spinning off commodity-based business groups in recent years and plans to merge what's left with Dow Chemical Co. this summer, sold the core of what is now Axalta in 2014 to Carlyle Group. Carlyle took Axalta public last year.

Axalta's largest owner, with almost 10 percent of shares, is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Group, which also owns Benjamin Moore Paints in Montvale, N.J. 

The Axalta-Spencer deal comes as large North America- and Europe-based paint makers are offering billions to buy each other, figuring that consolidation and control over multiple brands will prove more profitable than building new plants.  

PPG Industries has sweetened its offer for European paint giant AkzoNobel to nearly $30 billion. But AkzoNobel management is resisting, upsetting some of its own shareholders, who want to sell.

AkzoNobel last year considered making an offer for Axalta, Reuters and Bloomberg reported. 

Regulators in the United States and other companies are reviewing the mergers' effect on competition and prices. Axalta's Valspar offer helped the sellers gain regulators' approval of the sale of Valspar's other assets to Sherwin-Williams, which owns Philadelphia's former M.A. Bruder paints.