Largest French Arjo mill to liquidate as two more sold on

Rhys Handley
Friday, March 29, 2019

The Arjowiggins site in Bessé-sur-Braye will go into liquidation, leading to the loss of 580 jobs, while a sale has been agreed for the Château-Thierry plant alongside a partial sale of the Bourray operation.

French media reported the decision of the Commercial Court of Nanterre today (29 March), which comes after attempts to find a buyer for the French business failed. Swedish paper group Lessebo, understood to be a leading bidder, had pulled out of the race “a few weeks ago” according to reports in La Parisien, which has forced the Bessé plant to liquidate.

An update has yet to be seen on the plant’s employee communications feed, with the last word calling in staff at 10am, promising “we will talk about the organisation next week”.

Bessé trade union representative at the plant Abraham Philippe said the result was what staff had expected.

According to reports in L’Echo, 122 of 270 total jobs have been saved at the Bourray site as it has been part-purchased by local family business CGMP, an Arjo client that specialises in the manufacture of wadding towels. A report in La Parisien indicated that the number of employees whose jobs were saved was actually 117 and Le Maine reports the figure as 127.

Meanwhile, the Château-Thierry site, known as Greenfield, has been fully bought by German paper group Wepa. All 75 members of staff are expected to stay on.

The French sites went into receivership in January, with Arjo’s UK sites equally courting buyers while in administration. In the UK, Arjowiggins Creative Papers is now working with a preferred bidder on a sale likely to complete in April, although Arjowiggins Graphic remains in limbo as the administration process moves forward.

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