Smurfit Kappa offloads non-core European assets

Smurfit Kappa has agreed to sell off a range of non-core assets in what is described by the buyer as its biggest equity investment to date.

Pan-European investor Aurelius has struck a deal for a number of mills and converting sites located in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK.

“We are excited about working with this business to build on the existing strong market position through a focus on innovation, a revitalised sales function, and improved production efficiency,” said Aurelius chief executive Dirk Markus.

“This transaction clearly shows Aurelius’s appetite for complex carve-out situations, as well as our pan-European footprint and ability to deliver in multiple jurisdictions. While this is already our third successful acquisition in 2015, our transaction pipeline remains well filled for the upcoming months.”

The operations being sold have net assets amounting to €42m and comprise two graphic board mills, an integrated solidboard operation consisting of two mills, and four converting sites.

Smurfit Kappa said the transaction represents a further progression of the group’s stated objective to focus on its core business as a leading global producer of paper-based packaging solutions and maximise long-term returns for shareholders.

Roughly 830 employees are employed by the operations in question which delivered consolidated revenues of more than €240m and earnings before interest and taxes of €14m last year.

The financial terms of the deal have not been released.

The sale by Smurfit Kappa comes amid speculation that it could be the subject of an €8bn buyout bid from US-based International Paper.

The Dublin-listed company played down such rumours earlier this month while International Paper branded it merely “speculation and rumour”.

Meanwhile, Smurfit Kappa has acquired English firm Inspirepac in a €60m deal. Kappa reached the deal with Logson Group for the print business, which it said would deliver cost savings of €1.6m.

Smurfit Kappa employs 41,000 people in 32 countries and recorded sales of close to €8bn last year.


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