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Arjowiggins’ future secured with MBO

The future of two historic paper mills and the livelihoods of hundreds of employees of Arjowiggins have been secured, following a successful management buyout (MBO) of its UK operations.

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Arjowiggins’ UK operations have been saved through a management buyout

The company was placed into administration in January following insolvency proceedings against French parent companies Arjowiggins and Sequana.

The MBO covers Arjowiggins Fine Papers, which runs the Stoneywood mill in Aberdeen and an office in Basingstoke, and Arjowiggins Chartham which operates the Chartham mill.

The business will now be led by eight members of the leadership team, headed by current managing director, Jonathan Mitchell.

He comments: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the future of a strong and sustainable business which has such a long heritage in the UK. Arjowiggins Creative Papers has world-renowned market-leading brands and products and a passionate and talented team. 

“We are looking forward to taking steps to further strengthen the business and continue to provide first class products and customer service to our clients.

We are absolutely delighted to have secured the future of a strong and sustainable business which has such a long heritage in the UK

“The last nine months has been an unsettling time for the company and we are extremely grateful to the administrators, FRP Advisory, for having allowed the business to continue to trade while we found a workable solution.

“The support we have had from our staff, customers, suppliers and the Scottish Government has been incredible and without them this deal would not have been possible. There has been a real combined will to keep this historic business alive.”

The new company will have 559 employees across the three sites and will secure the production of its papers, which include the Conqueror, Curious Collection and Keaykolour ranges.

In Aberdeen, where 75% of employees are based, a Common Purpose Group was established by Jamie Hepburn, Scottish minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, to secure a long-term future for the Stoneywood mill.

The group was led by Scottish Enterprise and included representatives of the company’s management, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, Opportunity North East, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, and Unite the Union.

This is great news for the employees and their families, and indeed welcomed across Aberdeen, the Northeast and further afield

Hepburn comments: “I am delighted that the future of this historic mill has now been secured through a management buyout. This is great news for the employees and their families, and indeed welcomed across Aberdeen, the Northeast and further afield.

“The Scottish Government, through Scottish Enterprise, has been working intensively with the administrator, management team, Unite and local partners throughout this entire process to secure this positive outcome.

“The priority now is to work closely with the new owners to realise their plans for the long-term success of the business, and identify future opportunities in the sector, which ultimately benefits the local economy and wider North East economy.”

The completion of the MBO in the UK is the first of a two stage process, and the management team are now in “advanced discussions” with French administrators on the acquisition of non-UK operations, including Spanish mill Guarro Casas and Quzhou mill in China.

The MBO was financed by Shawbrook Bank and SQN Asset Finance Income Fund, as well as a number of strategic customers. Significant financial backing was also received from Scottish Enterprise.

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