Akzo Nobel of the Netherlands has issued a statement reiterating its intention to separate its pharmaceutical arm Organon through a listing on the stock markets rather than sell it outright, despite a number of offers.

The company noted that over the last few weeks, it has received “preliminary expressions of interest from a number of parties” regarding an acquisition of the unit but having “carefully reviewed” these proposals from the perspective of long-term shareholder value creation, Akzo “remains committed to its preferred route of a separate listing.”

This will “preferably” involve an initial public offering of some 20%-30% of Organon shares on the Euronext in Amsterdam, sometime in “early 2007” and the firm concluded by saying that it has “decided not to divert any resources away from pursuing the listing” within the original timeline.

The original IPO plans were disturbed somewhat by Pfizer's decision to discontinue its role in the development of asenapine, a new schizophrenia drug which was seen as a vital part of any flotation. An outright sale of the unit was estimated to be worth at least $10 billion, more than Akzo would probably get on the public markets.

Akzo declined to say who the interested parties were but there were strong rumours that a number of different consortia of private equity companies were making approaches.

The news was met with support from analysts, and Rabo Securities issued a note saying: “We are relieved that Akzo Nobel reconfirms the IPO route as in our view a sale of Organon would go hand-in-hand with the acquisition of (UK chemical group) ICI," and all the risks and uncertainties such a deal could involve.