Innovia Films, the producer of substrate for the controversial polymer £5 note, has been acquired by CCL Industries, in a deal worth around CAN$1.13bn (£680m).
Canada-based speciality packaging manufacturer CCL has agreed to purchase Innovia from its managing shareholder Smithfield Group, subject to regulatory and other change of control approvals and customary completion procedures, with the deal expected to complete at the end of Q1 2017.
Innovia chief executive Mark Robertshaw said: “CCL will be an excellent long-term owner for the employees and customers of Innovia. CCL recognises and values Innovia’s world-leading technology, R&D and differentiation in films and security and sees a high degree of complementarity with CCL’s own capabilities and markets.”
Innovia makes the substrate for the UK’s first polymer £5 note, a subject of controversy in recent weeks after traces of tallow, a meat product, were found in its polymer substrate. A change.org petition to have tallow removed from the note has currently amassed almost 150,000 signatures.
In July of this year, Innovia sold its UK and US Cellophane and Natureflex food packaging business to Futamura, a Japanese manufacturer of plastic and cellulose films, in order to concentrate on polymer production at its Wigton, Cumbria-based manufacturing site.
In 2014 £40m of investment was pumped into the site, including £20m for a new facility specifically for converting Innovia’s polymer into its trademarked Guardian substrate for the £5 notes.
It will also produce the substrate for the polymer £10 note, due for rollout in 2017.
Employing 1,200 people in sites across the US, Australia, Belgium and Brazil, as well as its Cumbrian headquarters, Innovia has produced more than 50bn polymer banknotes using its Guardian substrate for central banks around the world, which it says represents 99% of all polymer notes in global circulation.
Toronto-headquartered CCL employs more than 20,000 people in more than 150 countries worldwide. It said it already has a presence in the market that Innovia operates in, with capabilities in security printing, polymer extrusion, and surface engineering, but that it wants to take advantage of Innovia’s "pre-eminent R&D and high-technology capabilities".