Antalis now under KPP control

Jo Francis
Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Kokusai Pulp & Paper has officially taken control of Antalis after it completed the purchase of the shares held by majority shareholder Sequana, marking a “new page” for the merchanting group.

Antalis: biggest paper merchant in the UK
Antalis: biggest paper merchant in the UK

Yesterday (21 July) KPP completed the previously announced purchase of Sequana’s 75.2% stake for €0.10 (9p) a share, and the BPIFrance stake for €0.40 a share.

KPP has become the majority shareholder in the group as a result.

The Japanese group will file a so-called ‘mandatory squeeze out’ cash tender offer for the remaining shares held by private investors, at €0.73 a share.

The takeover deal involves the refinancing of an existing €100m facility through a new deal with Mizuho Bank, with the rest of the amount owed to Antalis' former lenders written off.

Antalis will also gain an intra-group loan of €80m from KPP, together with “potential complementary financing from other Japanese banks”.

CEO Hervé Poncin said the new backing would allow the group to strengthen its position going forward.

He stated: “Antalis, its management and its teams are delighted with this transaction with KPP, which will enable Antalis to write a new page in its international development by benefiting from new resources to strengthen its positions in its various markets and ensure its development.

“It opens new opportunities for its clients and suppliers with a world-class business partner.”

In its financial results for 2019, described as a “turbulent” year for the group due to the liquidation of Sequana and subsequent knock on impact to supply chains across various mills, Antalis posted sales down 8.6% at just under €2.1bn.

EBITDA fell from €75m to €54m, with margins slipping from 3.2% to 2.6% as a result. The net loss was €75.9m (2018 net loss: €29.8m).

At 31 December 2019 it had net debt of €346m, up from €288m in 2018.

Antalis is the biggest merchant in the UK, and had sales of €542m, down 8.8%, in the UK and Ireland last year.

The group operates in Europe, Latin America and the Far East.

The KPP takeover has resulted in chairman Pascal Lebard and directors Cécile Helme-Guizon and Bruno Basuyaux resigning from the group's board. 

Madoka Tanabe, the chairman and CEO of KPP, becomes the new chairman of Antalis. The other new directors proposed by KPP are Yasuyuki Sakata and Shojiro Adachi.

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