Paper merchant interest in Tullis Russell Papermakers

Sarah Cosgrove
Friday, May 1, 2015

Scottish paper merchant PG Paper has appointed a team of forensic accountants to look into the books of Tullis Russell Papermakers, following an approach to administrators KPMG.

The 206-year-old company which operated out of a 40-hectare site in Markinch, Fife, was put into administration on 27 April, on the request of company directors, and 325 people made immediately redundant. 149 were kept on to fulfil outstanding orders.

Tullis Russell Group’s other companies were not affected by the administration.

PG Paper, owned by husband and wife team Puneet and Poonam Gupta is based in Kilmacolm. It has a £30m turnover and employs 10 staff in the UK.

Spokesmen for the administrators KPMG and also PG Paper confirmed that an approach had been made.

“PG Paper has expressed an interest in buying the company’s stock and also potentially the facility itself as a going concern,” the PG Paper representative said.

He added the company’s team of financial experts were examining the books “in great detail”.

“Nobody really knows what the true position of Tullis Russell Papermakers was. It’s not straightforward.”

The administrators are not commenting on individual bids, a spokesman said.

“The administrators haven’t received any bids, what they have received is a number of notes of interest."

There was no further update from them at the time of writing.

PG Paper buys and sells “customised paper solutions” in 42 countries. It currently exports over 90% of its total volume to the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and the Far East.

In the past few years the company has developed a presence in other major markets including North Africa, Turkey and South America.

It is also in the process of expanding by acquiring similar businesses in northern Europe, North Africa and North America.

Meanwhile the Scottish government announced a £6m fund yesterday fund, part of which can be used to retrain those who lost their jobs at Tullis Russell.

Additionally, the Fife Taskforce set up in the wake of the administration held its first meeting yesterday. It agreed to support KPMG administrators in exploring commercial options for the plant, “with support from key public sector agencies”; support those made redundant and talk to other private sector employers about potential job opportunities elsewhere.

Speaking after the meeting in Glenrothes, the Taskforce co-chairs Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Fife Council leader David Ross said they would do all they could to support those who had been made redundant or otherwise affected.

“It is essential that we act quickly and at today’s meeting we agreed a range of practical actions.

“We want to maintain focus and momentum and agreed to meet again in two weeks to agree our draft action plan to support economic growth and job creation in central Fife. That plan will identify what will be delivered, including resources available to support that delivery.

“The Scottish government has already announced an initial £6m of financial support. Other members of the Taskforce will look to see what resources they can bring to support work in the area.”

Following the administration, chief executive of the Tullis Russell Group, which owns Tullis Russell Papermakers, Chris Parr revealed the company had asked KPMG to look for a buyer for the mill – and 72 potential purchasers had considered and rejected the offer.

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