KPP progressing with Antalis takeover

Jo Francis
Monday, April 27, 2020

Progress has been made in Kokusai Pulp & Paper’s takeover of merchanting group Antalis, with two key steps now complete.

Antalis: UK's biggest paper merchant
Antalis: UK's biggest paper merchant

KPP’s proposed takeover deal was announced at the end of last month, subject to a number of provisions.

In an update, Antalis said that on 22 April the supervisory judge overseeing the liquidation of Antalis’ majority shareholder Sequana issued an order authorising the sale of all the Antalis shares currently held by Sequana.

Prior to that, the Antalis European Works Council (EWC) had issued a “favourable opinion on the proposed sale” on 14 April.

“The process is thus continuing, with the next step being the exercise of the put option by Sequana, which is subject to the release by Bpifrance Participations and Impala Security Solutions of the pledges on Antalis shares currently held by Sequana. The effective transfer of the shares is also subject to other customary conditions precedent,” Antalis said in a statement.

Antalis has also announced that due to the Covid-19 situation it is delaying publication of its year-end results for 2019, and for Q1 2020, until mid-May.

The firm had overall group sales of €2.3bn (£2bn) in 2018. It is the biggest paper merchant in the UK with sales of €595m in the UK and Ireland.

Japan-headquartered KPP has sales of around €3.2bn and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The deal marks its first foray into Europe and will result in the creation of a €5.3bn turnover merchanting giant selling some 3.3 million tonnes of paper worldwide.

Sequana is the biggest shareholder in Antalis with a 75.2% stake. Bpifrance holds an 8.5% stake, while public investors hold the remaining 16.25% of the business. 

KPP has agreed to buy the Sequana stake at a price of €0.10 per share, and the Bpifrance shares for €0.40 per share.

The deal also includes a financial restructuring. Of Antalis’ existing €287.1m finance facility, €187m will be written off, with a new €100m financing deal put in place by KPP with Mizuho Bank.

Antalis currently has a market capitalisation of €50.4m.

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