250-staff company bought

Zeus Group acquires Weedon Group

(L-R) Weedon managing director John Weedon, Zeus founder and owner Brian O’Sullivan and Weedon operations director Peter Weedon
(L-R) Weedon managing director John Weedon, Zeus founder and owner Brian O’Sullivan and Weedon operations director Peter Weedon

Independently owned Irish packaging company Zeus Group has acquired independent integrated corrugated manufacturer Weedon Group.

Zeus said the deal, which was completed on Tuesday (9 April), underscores the group’s increased focus on sustainable packaging, “investing in paper-based solutions over plastic-based production”.

Weedon Group has revenues of over £30m per annum and employs more than 250 staff across two UK locations in Manchester and Staffordshire. The acquisition takes Zeus’ expected annualised revenues to €560m (£479m). There are no plans at present to change staffing levels or the Weedon name.

Zeus Group CEO Keith Ockenden said: “The acquisition of Weedon Group is a key facet of Zeus Group’s Vertical Integration Strategy. We now have robust in-house capabilities along the entire paper supply chain, from raw material processing to manufacturing, right through to distribution and retail.

“Our investment strategy is also focusing on paper-based solutions over traditional plastic-based production.

“Zeus is dedicated to offering customers an independent alternative supply option from a globally positioned independent business focused on service and supply chain solutions within the packaging sector.

“These solutions facilitate innovation, efficiency, productivity, and profitability improvement for businesses looking to streamline and consolidate supply and standardise packaging products across their estate.

“Weedon and its team have a rich legacy of excellence and innovation in the packaging industry. We are delighted to finalise the purchase and look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to the Zeus family.”

Zeus Group’s recent strategic focus on investments in paper-based packaging aligns with its commitment to reduce its Scope 3 emissions.

Ockenden added: “Our commitment to the Science Based Targets Initiative has put us on a path to net zero by 2050. While we continue to work on reducing our own Scope 3 emissions, our technical-based sustainability teams work with our account managers to support our customers in achieving their own sustainability goals.”

John Weedon, managing director of Weedon Group, also commented: “When taking the decision to sell the business, it was important we aligned with a business looking to invest and grow in the paper and corrugated sector.

“Zeus has demonstrated a commitment to the provision of complete sustainable packaging solutions for businesses along with added value services and continuous improvement principles that look to assist supply chain efficiency.

“The entire range of Zeus’s capabilities will complement our existing customer base, and as a combined business, we will offer a strong ‘independent’ alternative for those looking for packaging innovation, supply consolidation and supply chain efficiency.”

The transaction was managed by the Zeus internal M&A team, led by group CFO Sean O’Keeffe. Financial due diligence was supported by EY, and legal due diligence from TLT.

Zeus has 58 locations worldwide, including in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, Canada, US, China, and Australia. Following the acquisition it employs 1,300 people in total across 38 countries globally.

Last year Zeus Group purchased Italian paper and board convertor Cima Paper, Northern Irish print and packaging business James Hamilton Group, and Polpack in Poland.

This followed its acquisition of Swanline Group and its sister company BoxMart, as well as Canadian agricultural supply business Agri-Flex, in 2022.