Zanders to be acquired with loss of 150 jobs

Richard Stuart-Turner & Rhys Handley
Friday, November 30, 2018

German papermaker Zanders is set to be acquired, with the loss of 150 jobs.

The firm, based in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne, will be taken over by new company Zanders-Paper, headed up by Norwegian pulp and paper businessman Terje Haglund.

Haglund is also the chief executive of new start-up company Virginal Paper which earlier this year bought a Belgian paper mill, formerly the home of insolvent Idempapers. He described Zanders-Paper as a “continuation” of its predecessor that will operate as a separate entity to Virginal, effective as of 1 December.

“We are pleased that the acquisition will be made by paper professionals who are already very successful in the industry,” said Zanders’ insolvency administrator Marc d'Avoine.

“The continuation of paper production at Zanders is thus assured. All knowhow carriers remain on board.”

He added: “Thanks to the know-how on both sides, there are very good prerequisites for securing the Bergisch Gladbach location for the long term.”

Business operations will continue with around 300 of Zanders’ 450 staff. The company said an interim employment society will aid the 150 affected employees by continuing to pay “a large part of the salary” for seven months, as well as offering assistance in looking for new jobs.

According to Haglund, the Zanders management team will carry over into the new entity.

Zanders products are supplied by Antalis and Fenner Paper in the UK, an arrangement Haglund has confirmed will continue.

He said: “Zanders saw how I can run a lean operation. It was a matter of having a good product to offer and that is why they thought I was best suited to what they needed at the time.”

Zanders began insolvency proceedings over the summer. In recent months it has invested around €7m (£6.23m) in converting its on-site power plant from hard coal to natural gas and launched new products Zanbarrier NGR, a natural barrier paper, and Zangrass, a new uncoated paper made from grass.

In October d'Avoine had said the ongoing process with potential buyers had entered a “decisive phase” and that the sale of the business was expected to be imminent.

Zanders was founded by Johann Wilhelm Zanders in Bergisch Gladbach in 1829. The business still operates the Gohrsmu¨hle paper mill there today and its two paper machines have an annual production capacity of 325,000 tonnes.

Until the end of the 1980s the company exclusively supplied special papers but, since 2012, it has also offered graphic mass papers.

The company has recently announced that it will increase prices for all deliveries from 1 January due to prices for chemicals, energy and pulp remaining “at an historical all-time high”.


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