Who doesn’t know the Dulux dog? The doe eyes, the wagging tail, the blow dried coat. Launched onto TV screens and billboards more than half a century ago, the old English sheepdog is an advertising icon.

Less well-known is the coatings and chemicals company behind it. Yet AkzoNobel also has a distinguished history. Dating back to 1777, the Netherlands-based firm was a pioneer in industrial-scale chemical manufacture. It also counts Swedish engineer, chemist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel – he of the prize – among its distinguished antecedents.

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