By David Reed, UT EditorArnhem, the Netherlands-Akzo Nobel plans to create two independent companies: one dealing with its coatings and chemicals activities-which include some polyurethane-based products-the other focused on pharmaceuticals.The first step is a minority IPO (initial public offer) of its Pharmaceuticals business, to be called Organon Biosciences, a 7 Feb statement from the Dutch firm said, adding that the timing of the final separation would depend on developments within that unit's pipeline which are expected in the second half of 2006. Full separation of Organon Biosciences expected within three years post IPO."Over recent years, we have made significant progress related to our strategy of fixing pharma, refocusing our chemicals portfolio and continuing to grow and invest in our coatings business," said Hans Wijers, CEO of Akzo Nobel. "As a logical next step, and after a thorough strategic review, we believe that creating two independent companies, Coatings/chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, will enhance shareholder value through both increased management and strategic focus, and greater transparency. Both businesses are strongly positioned to grow independently," his statement said."The increased management and strategic focus afforded through the separation of Pharmaceuticals will enable us to accelerate growth and invest in attractive expansion opportunities in our coatings and chemicals businesses," Wijers emphasised."Our coatings business is the market leader, and our recent acquisitions underscore our commitment to pursuing opportunities globally, including in emerging markets," he claimed. "Our refocused chemicals business is well positioned for growth, based on leading positions in our five core platforms," Wijers added.The definitive decision on the separation of the two companies is subject to approval by an (extraordinary) meeting of shareholders and consultation with relevant employee representative bodies."