Aylesford Newsprint in Kent has been sold by its owners to a US private equity firm.
SCA Forest Products and Mondi Group sold have sold their jointly-owned 100% holding in the recycled paper mill.
A statement from Aylesford described its new owners The Martland Holdings as an “investment holding company engaged in acquiring non-core divisions of large corporations and private companies worldwide”.
Aylesford’s acting managing director, Ian Broxup, said the sale “opens up new opportunities to reinforce the company’s position as a UK newsprint producer”.
The Martland’s executive director, Landry Kouakou, added: “Aylesford’s high-quality asset base, its unique industrial know-how combined with a strong balance sheet with no financial debt and an improved operating structure will represent key assets for the future.”
“We are long-term investors with the commitment to build lifetime relationships with the Company’s customers in Europe and overseas, enhance operational excellence while remaining nimble and flexible in serving our clients. We look forward to working with the management team and Aylesford’s employees.”
A statement from Mondi said: “The shares in Aylesford Newsprint were sold for a nominal consideration satisfied in cash at completion. Immediately prior to completion, the Company was re-capitalised, with the proceeds used to repay in full its interest bearing debt and leave net cash of £23 million.
“For the year ended 31 December 2011, Aylesford Newsprint generated negative EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization] before special items of £4m and net loss before special items of £16m. Immediately before completion, Aylesford Newsprint pro forma gross assets amounted to approximately £99m.”
“Mondi Group’s loss on disposal of its 50% interest in the company will be approximately EUR71m, accounted for as a non-operating special item, and the estimated negative cash flow effect of this transaction will be approximately EUR17m.”
Mondi Group CEO David Hathorn said: “This disposal allows us to continue to focus on our core businesses, while creating an opportunity for Aylesford to continue supplying newsprint to the major national newspaper groups in the UK.”
SCA said: “The sale of shares was carried out on a debt-free basis for a symbolic amount, and involved a book loss of SEK850 million and a negative cash flow effect of SEK140 million for SCA.”