Walstead gains £33m backing for Leykam buy

Walstead has secured £33m of private equity backing for its acquisition of Leykam Let’s Print.

The group has gained a £33m investment from Rutland Partners to help fund the deal, which was announced last month. Walstead said its latest buy had an overall enterprise value of €175m (£134m).

Wyndeham Group owner Walstead expanded onto the continent when it bought Bertelsmann’s Spanish web and gravure operations just over a year ago. The addition of Austrian-headquartered Leykam Let’s Print takes the group into central Europe, and its overall turnover to almost €500m.

In a statement, Walstead chairman Mark Scanlon said: “This was a complex transaction, and we chose Rutland because of their experience of these situations and their strong appetite to back the Walstead business. We also see plenty of further potential opportunities to progress our strategy in Europe, and I do not believe any other European print group has the ambition or ability to do what we are doing.”

Rutland Partners has raised £800m from institutional and private investors across three funds, and is currently investing from the £263m Rutland Fund III.

Partner Oliver Jones described it as a “transformational deal” and praised Walstead’s strong track record: “We look forward to working with the Walstead team to maximise the potential of the enlarged group and to support their plans for further growth,” he said.

Rutland’s current investment portfolio includes Pizza Hut Restaurants, wild bird care specialist Gardman Group, Maplin Electronics, and turkey producer Bernard Mathews.

The Leykam buy propels Walstead into the top echelons of European web offset and gravure production, processing more than 565,000 tonnes of paper a year and with 2,000 employees. The business now has 37 web offset presses across the group, 38 binding and stitching lines, and four gravure presses in Spain.

PrintWeek understands that Walstead remains in discussions with administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers about the up-for-sale Polestar operations.

Scanlon said he could not make any comment at this time.

The Leykam deal remains subject to approval by Austrian and German merger authorities, because the involvement of a new shareholder means Walstead has to re-file for approval.

Scanlon said that Rutland Partners would be taking a “significant stake” in the new Walstead Group company, but that all Walstead’s existing shareholders would remain on board, with the exception of Kevin Lyon who had a minority stake from when Walstead acquired Wyndeham Group from Landsbanki in 2008.




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