The Sauvegarde procedure, which provides temporary creditor protection in France, was opened on 15 February after Sequana lost the latest round of its long-running High Court battle with BAT Industries.
Sequana sought the protection of the French Commercial Court while it completed a strategic restructuring plan it already had in motion prior to the High Court decision because it considered the ruling to be “an important risk for the group”.
Sequana had been working on proposals for an initial public offering of a minority stake in Antalis on the Paris Stock Exchange since the start of the year.
At its general meeting on 6 June, Sequana’s shareholders voted to distribute Antalis shares to its shareholders for approximately 18.36% of the Antalis share capital, on the basis of one Antalis share for five Sequana shares. Sequana has therefore retained more than 80% of Antalis’ share capital.
In accordance with the measures announced by Sequana on 15 February, 71 million Antalis shares opened on the Paris Stock Exchange yesterday (12 June) with a nominal price of €3 (264p) per share. The share price was €2.97 at the time of writing.
Antalis said this move will ensure its growth, particularly in the packaging and visual communication sectors, as well as providing Sequana with the financial means necessary to conduct its business and meet its obligations.
David Hunter, Antalis regional managing director for UK, Ireland and South Africa, said: “This is extremely good news for Antalis and something we’re very excited about. From our point of view, the big thing is that it gives us much higher visibility as a standalone company – still with Sequana as our major shareholder but we now have our own identity and the opportunity of bringing in more investors. It really is the start of a new era for the company.
“Paper is still a major part of our business but we continue to drive into packaging and more visual communications in all of our operations worldwide and there are exciting prospects there.”
Sequana’s restructuring strategy also included plans to sell the remainder of the struggling Arjowiggins Security Division, which the company earlier said it had planned to complete in the first half of 2017.
Sales at Sequana’s continuing operations slipped by 7% to €2.9bn for the year ended 31 December 2016. Antalis’ sales were down 6.3% year-on-year to €2.5bn.