Materials

Aylesford Newsprint sold to The Martland Holdings

Aylesford

Private equity company The Martland Holdings LLC has acquired Aylesford Newsprint Holdings Ltd, the newspaper group has announced.

Previously owned by SCA Forest Products and Mondi Group, all shareholdings of the loss-making Aylesford Newsprint Holdings – one of just three mills making recycled newsprint in the UK – have now been sold to the US-based company.

Ian Broxup“We are excited about building up the new relationship with The Martland Holdings”, said Ian Broxup, Acting Managing Director of Aylesford Newsprint.

“The transaction opens up new opportunities to reinforce the company’s position as a UK newsprint producer.”

Aylesford Newsprint has said that there will be no changes to personnel and that the company is running with ‘business as usual’.

According to previous owners, the Mondi Group, the company was sold for a ‘nominal consideration satisfied in cash’ which was used to repay ‘in full its interest bearing debt and leave net cash of £23 million’.

The company went on to say that for the year ending 31 December 2011, Aylesford Newsprint generated negative earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £4 million and a net loss (before special items) of £16 million. Immediately before completion, Aylesford Newsprint pro forma gross assets amounted to approximately £99 million.

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.”

The Martland Holdings, which acquires ‘non-core divisions of large corporations and private companies worldwide’ claims to buy companies with a transaction value below €300 million which will see revenues between €5 million and €1 billion.

Landry Kouakou, Executive Director of The Martland Holdings, said: “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."

Aylesford Newsprint was formed in 1993 as a joint venture between Swedish SCA Forest Products and South Africa-based Mondi Group. The company operates two paper machines, PM13 and PM14, and produces around 400,000 tonnes of newsprint per annum from 100 per cent recovered paper.