Harry E Gould Jr completed a deal today with Mike and Nick Gee, Denmaur chief executive and managing director respectively, to become the majority shareholder of the Sittingbourne-headquartered paper business.
Gould had held the top job at New York-headquartered Gould Paper Corporation since 1969, following in the footsteps of his father Harry E Gould Snr who founded the company in 1924. In 2015, Gould Jr sold the firm to Japan Pulp and Paper Company.
This latest deal marks his return to the paper industry, with his brother Robert Gould also joining Denmaur as a non-executive director. The wider structure of Denmaur’s board will go unchanged as the Gees and non-executive chair Stephen Mason all remain.
Mike Gee said: “I have known Harry Gould for 15 years. He built his company up to be the fourth-biggest paper merchant in the US and brings to Denmaur a lot of expertise, industry contacts and shared values.
“We have a common belief that customers and suppliers are the most important part of the equation and the key is to work well with them. If you ask around that is generally what we are both renowned for.”
Gould has acquired his stake in Denmaur with ambitions to grow the company into new markets. Gee suggested that packaging and other “paper-related” avenues are being considered.
In a time of turbulence for paper pricing and supply ahead of Brexit, Gee made clear that Denmaur was “advanced” in its plans to mitigate the impact of continued uncertainty. He said Denmaur had now obtained Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status which simplifies the customs process on goods from the EU.
“Brexit is something on which we have been very keen to be as market-leading as we can be in our planning,” he said.
Denmaur Paper Media has a headcount in excess of 100 and turns over £115m.
Last year the business rebranded and re-organised its operations to better respond to, and give it a sharper focus on, growth opportunities by splitting the business, previously Denmaur Independent Papers, into two trading divisions: Denmaur Media and Denmaur Paper.