Coveris buys second UK packaging firm in three months

Darryl Danielli
Friday, August 22, 2014

Acquisitive packaging group Coveris has bought its second UK firm in three months with a deal for £20m turnover Learoyd Packaging.

The deal for the Burnley-based flexible packaging specialist completed yesterday.

“Learoyd has built an enviable market reputation for flexible packaging through its innovative culture and focus on best practice,” said Mark Lapping, president of Coveris’ UK Food & Consumer business.

“Through our aligned capabilities in flexographic print, Coveris’ investment in Learoyd will offer our customers greater access to first-class technology and an extensive knowledge base.”

Learoyd was formed in 1976 and employs 180 staff. It had sales last year of £20m.

It initially specialised in paper and plastic bags for the textile industry, before moving into the flexible food packaging market and developing a customer base that now includes M&S, Tesco, Waitrose and Unilever.

“Over recent years, we have invested in the long-term growth of the company, to develop a state of the art facility with extensive design capabilities as well as training and development for our staff,” said Learoyd managing director Allan Ferguson.

“The backing of Coveris will enable us to deliver accelerated growth in a market which offers considerable expansion and cross-selling opportunities both in the UK and internationally.”

Ferguson and the company’s existing management team will remain with the business.

“One of the reasons we aqcuired the business was because of the strong management team and the highly skilled workforce they lead, and they’re all integral to moving the business forward,” said Coveris UK marketing manager Sian Bates.

The Learoyd acquisition follows Coveris buying St Neots Packaging in June.

While Bates said Coveris UK’s immediate focus would be on integrating its latest acquisitions, she hinted that further M&A activity hadn’t been ruled out.

“The business remains focussed on continued growth, and will continue to look for the right acquisitions to support further business growth to enhance our service and innovation offer,” she said.

Following its latest acquisition Coveris has global sales of $2.8bn and operates from 64 plants.

Its UK Food & Consumer operation consists of 17 UK operations and generates sales of £420m.

The group, which was formed by the combination of Exopack, Britton Group, Kobusch, PACCOR and Paragon Print & Packaging, is owned by a portfolio fund of Polestar owner Sun European Partners.

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