Swedish private equity firm Munksjo gains EU approval to acquire specialty paper unit of ArjoWiggins

Munksjo, a Swedish private equity firm gained EU regulatory approval on Monday to acquire the specialty paper unit of ArjoWiggins, owned by French group Sequana, to form one of the largest decor paper firms. Munksjo, owned by Swedish private equity firm EQT's Fund No. III, said in December last year that the acquisition would boost its activities in the sector ahead of a planned listing this year. 

The European Commission, the EU competition watchdog, said an investigation of the impact on the decor paper market found the merged company would still have effective rivals. In a statement, the EU Commission said the new entity will continue to face effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) including from Technocell of Germany, Malta Decor of Poland and a number of smaller players.

Munksjo announced December last year that it will pay 95 million euro for the specialty paper business of ArjoWiggins. Munksjo had then said the acquisition of the decor and abrasive paper units was a natural step in its strategy to grow within specialty papers ahead of a planned listing in 2011. The approval gives Munksjö the go ahead to  form a world leading specialty Paper Company.

Munksjö would almost double the turnover for decor paper and add important growth potential for further expansion within new specialty paper segments such as abrasive papers, fine arts papers and thin papers primarily for pharmaceutical leaflets.

Jan Astrom, president and CEO of Munksjö said last year that the acquisition is an important step in Munksjö’s growth strategy to become a major player in decor paper and to grow in profitable niche segments for industrial applications. Acquiring the competency within decor and the new segments will give access to new growth markets for further expansion.

Munksjö is an international specialty paper company producing a focused range of high-value-added paper to a selection of industrial sectors. Munksjö has world leading market positions in specialty paper areas such as: upgrading of laminate surfaces for flooring, furniture and interior design, electrotechnical paper for insulation in high-voltage cables and interleaving to the steel industry.

Production facilities are located in Germany, Spain, Norway, China and Sweden. Munksjö has customer service centers, sales offices and agents with global reach. Estimated sales for 2010 are 390 million euro and the number of employees will be approximately 1,050.

22 February 2011

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