In a statement released last week, the paper merchant said: “In agreement with Sequana, the board of directors of Antalis has taken the decision to commission an investment bank to set up a new shareholding structure in the coming months in the interests of the company, which will enable it to ensure its development and to implement its strategic plan.”
Following an IPO in 2017, Antalis is an independent company with its own stock market listing, however Sequana does currently remain its majority shareholder, with a stake of just over 75% in the business.
At the time of writing, it was unclear whether the statement meant that Antalis could be put up for sale, or if Sequana would look to sell more of its stake in the company. When asked for clarification, an Antalis spokesperson told PrintWeek “we can’t comment beyond what is stated”.
The business has also released its unaudited estimated operating results for FY 2018, which it said are “in line with its objectives”.
It said that, at constant scope and exchange rates and compared with full-year 2017, its estimated sales should stand at €2.31bn (£2.03bn), down 1%, with EBITDA estimated at €74m, representing a 3.2% EBITDA margin.
The company said these operating performances highlight its resilience “in the context of a sharp volume decrease in the European papers distribution market due to selling price increases driven by soaring pulp prices”.
In its statement, Antalis also stressed that the decision handed down by the Court of Appeal in London last week regarding the litigation between Sequana and British American Tobacco (BAT) “has no impact on Antalis, which is not a party to this litigation”.
The troubled French group also owns paper manufacturer Arjowiggins, whose UK operations were placed into administration last month, a week after receivership proceedings for some its French subsidiaries were opened by the Commercial Court of Nanterre.
This came after the group’s planned €125m deal to sell Arjowiggins’ €528m-turnover Graphic and Creative Papers businesses to Dutch firm Fineska fell through after the buyer pulled out due to deteriorating market conditions.
Having spent much of January and early February between €0.91 and €0.94, Antalis’ share price dropped to €0.81 on Thursday morning (7 February) and then steadily climbed to €1.33 on Monday. It stood at €1.19 at the time of writing.