Denmaur in Middleton division acquisition

Middleton’s staff will continue to operate from their location in Walsall
Middleton’s staff will continue to operate from their location in Walsall

Denmaur Independent Papers has reached an agreement to acquire the business and assets of the Fine Paper and Conversion division from Middleton Paper Company, for an undisclosed sum.

Completion of the deal for the division, which incorporates merchanting arm Vision Paper and Board, is scheduled for mid-July. The Offcuts and Cores division of Middleton Paper Company will remain with the business.

The deal, which developed through conversations between the two businesses, will represent Denmaur’s first acquisition since Harry E Gould Jr – currently chairman of the business – took a majority shareholding in it in 2019.

He said: “We are acquiring an ongoing and profitable operation in Middleton, and although a slightly different business model, the combined strengths and differences of the two companies will generate added value and a unique opportunity for the UK paper and board market going forward.”

Denmaur has steadily grown since opening in 1983 into a major paper merchant that supplies the publishing, commercial print, and cartonboard sectors. The business recently reached the landmark of 100,000 tonnes of Carbon Balanced Paper sales.

Middleton, meanwhile, has made its name largely through its conversion services in the graphic paper and board market.

Denmaur CEO Mike Gee said: “This takes me back to my roots, before we started Denmaur, when I worked alongside Jean Stanley at M6 Paper who were then a very successful merchanting and conversion company. Jean is now part of the Denmaur team and will no doubt share our excitement of sales and conversion coming together again.”

Denmaur managing director Nick Gee added: “Denmaur and Middleton share the ethos of a family-owned business as well as a tremendous respect for employee commitment, which has been instrumental to the success of both companies. The acquisition adds another facet to our business, allowing us to provide making sizes of paper and board to our customer base with short lead-times.

“We have worked with Middleton for many years and recognise the quality of the conversion services they offer, it is a perfect fit that will enable us to provide a further enhanced service package to both our and their customer bases.”

With Denmaur’s warehouse in Bardon, the combined storage capacity following the acquisition will cover nearly 22,000sqm.

Denmaur said its turnover for 2021/22 was £100m while the acquired Middleton division made £21.6m in the six-month period to 30 April 2022, meaning the combined turnover of both companies will be “in excess of £140m”.

The total staff headcount of the combined business will be 128 once the purchase has been finalised, with 57 people set to TUPE across from Middleton.

Middleton’s staff will continue to operate from their location in Walsall and the TUPE process at the site began yesterday (22 June), with a targeted completion date due on or around 14 July.

A rebranding exercise will take place, although the intention is to retain some of the Middleton branding. Denmaur said more will be revealed once the deal is finalised in mid-July.

Jason Middleton, managing director of Middleton Paper, said: “Having led the team of dedicated people who have grown our Fine Paper and Conversion division for over 35 years, I am excited to see the progress we will make during the next phase of this operation’s development.

“We will all continue to enjoy secure, independent ownership that fully supports the proactive and progressive management team that I will be joining.

“Both customers and suppliers alike will benefit from the synergies created by bringing our companies together, as well as broadening the range of opportunities available to us in a challenging market throughout the years ahead.”

Denmaur divisional director Andy Buxton concluded: “This is a very exciting time for Denmaur, and we believe this acquisition is a perfect fit and demonstrates our direction of travel.

“I have known the Middleton business and Jason for many years, and we are all very excited to be working alongside each other as a wider team. It will put us in a very strong position to support our customers and suppliers with many more opportunities.”