Antalis expands Irish ops and invests in UK logistics

Darryl Danielli
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Antalis has expanded its Irish operations with the acquisition of Dublin-headquartered Swan Paper and signed off a £5m investment in its UK delivery network.

The deal for Swan Paper, Ireland’s largest independent paper merchant was completed on 30 December. The business operates both north and south of the border.

Swan Paper, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, logged a pre-tax profit just shy of €316,000 last year and employs 13 staff, all of who transfer to Antalis’s existing circa €40m (£34m), 32-staff Irish operation – also based out of Dublin.

Antalis will retain the Swan brand as a separate division. It will be headed up by Swan chief operating officer Brian McArdle, who will report to Antalis Ireland managing director Eoin Heagney.

Swan Paper chief executive Tony Swan approached Antalis last year with a view to selling the business he founded.

“We’ve known Tony Swan for many years, and what was clear was that he cared where the business went to, so it felt a little like I was being interviewed by him,” said David Hunter, Antalis regional managing director for UK, Ireland and South Africa.

“We’re delighted to welcome Brian and the rest of the Swan team aboard. They’ve got their own identity, their own brand, customer relationships and a nice business and we’ll encourage them to operate independently. Clearly there are synergies and things that will benefit them from being part of a larger group, but it’s a successful business and we respect that.”

As a result of the deal, Swan will have the opportunity to expand its product range, but Hunter stressed this would be driven by the Swan team.

Tony Swan added: “I am incredibly proud to have built the business into the company it is today, but feel it is now time to take a step back from day-to-day operations. The next chapter in the Swan story is incredibly important to me and I believe that Antalis is the right business partner to take the company forward.  Its approach to its people, product offering and customers are all very similar to our own.”

Meanwhile, Antalis is set to roll out 81 new trucks as part of an upgrade to its 160-strong UK delivery fleet. The £5m, seven-year contract hire deal with Fraikin will see the new DAF Euro VI trucks come into service over the coming months.

This comes hot on the heels of the company completing the renewal of its entire mechanical handling fleet.

According to Hunter, on average the business moves around 1,000 tonnes of stock every day, not including indent, highlighting the importance of a well-invested logistics operation.

"Which is why we’ve been investing heavily, but wisely, across the entire business: logistics, systems and training, to support the changing needs of the business and its customers,” he said.

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