Altor acquires Papyrus to drive growth

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Today Altor has signed a binding agreement with Stora Enso to acquire Papyrus. The new owners aim at growing the company during the coming years and develop a European market leader in paper and packaging distribution.

Altor today announced the acquisition of Papyrus, Stora Enso’s wholly-owned paper and packaging merchant. Supported by Altor, Papyrus will be able to pursue additional acquisitions within both existing and new markets as well as within new product areas. The company, with head office in Mölndal, outside Göteborg, Sweden, will continue to be headed by the existing management team.

“After successfully building up Papyrus in the last few years, we believe it is critical that this channel should continue to develop independently– and in fact drive the consolidation of merchanting in Europe. We also believe that Altor will be good owner for Papyrus able to take this consolidation forward”, said Jouko Karvinen, CEO of Stora Enso.

Altor has prior experience of driving organic and acquisitive growth within the wholesale and retail sector from its investments in Euro Cater, Wrist, Dustin and Byggmax.

“We are impressed how well Papyrus has developed over recent years and it is a very strong platform for future growth and development. Altor’s aim is to continue to develop Papyrus into the leading and most customer-oriented merchant in Europe. This will benefit Papyrus’s customers, employees and strategic suppliers”, said Claes Ekström, Partner at Altor Equity Partners AB.

As part of the transaction, Papyrus and Stora Enso have signed a supply agreement on arms length basis, which will ensure that Stora Enso continues to be one of the strategic suppliers to Papyrus.

“I am confident that Papyrus, together with the new owners, can continue the successful strategy towards becoming Europe’s a leading paper- and packaging merchant. The management team is looking forward to work with Altor and together with the whole organisation of Papyrus as we seek to expand through both organic and acquisitive growth”, said Mats Nordlander, President of Papyrus.

The transaction will be finalized following customary statutory approvals.

Financing and advisors
Debt financing for the transaction has been arranged by Handelsbanken in Mölndal. Altor was advised by Pöyry Capital, Ernst & Young, Mannheimer Swartling, Aon, Golder and DTZ.

About Papyrus
Papyrus, with a net sale of EUR 2,006 million in 2007, is one of Europe’s leading paper merchants. It supplies 1.9 million tonnes of paper annually. Papyrus currently has a presence in 22 European countries and employs 3 100 people. Papyrus head office is located in Mölndal, on the outskirts of Göteborg, Sweden. Papyrus is represented locally both under its own brand name and as Schneidersöhne, Sihl+Eika, Scaldia and Classen-Papier. Although Papyrus operates under different names, the company has a coherent one-company commitment to offer quality products, high service levels and superior logistical solutions. For more information, please visit www.papyrus.com

About Altor
The Altor funds (Altor) are private equity funds comprising the “Altor 2003 Fund”, with committed capital of EUR 650 million, and the “Altor Fund II”, with committed capital of EUR 1,150 million. Altor is advised by Altor Equity Partners. Altor invests in companies in the Nordic region with a focus on value creation through growth initiatives, strategic development and operational improvements. Among Altor’s investments are Lindorff, AGR Group (Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange), Relacom, Ferrosan, Meyn, Aalborg Industries, PaloDEx, Navico, Byggmax, Nimbus Boats, SPT Group, PIAB, Dustin, Helly Hansen, Euro Cater, Vatus, Northstar, Wrist, Q-matic and Constructor (Aker Material Handling). Prior investments include ACO (divested to Omega Pharma) and Dynapac (divested to Atlas Copco).