Administrators at the Arjowiggins UK operations are working with a preferred bidder for a large part of the business and hope to conclude a deal next month.
Joint administrators from FRP Advisory were appointed at Arjowiggins Fine Papers, Arjowiggins Chartham, Performance Papers, and Arjobex in mid-January, and have not commented since.
Last week PrintWeek revealed the complexity of the situation facing the administrators.
In a statement today (27 March), a spokesman for the administrators said: “The joint administrators have selected a preferred bidder for ArjoWiggins Fine Papers operations at Stoneywood in Aberdeen and in Basingstoke, and ArjoWiggins Chartham in Chartham, Kent.
“The proposed deal is for the sale of the assets of the business as a going concern, and the retention of all remaining staff. Subject to the satisfactory conclusion of due diligence, it is hoped that the deal will conclude around the middle of April.”
The identity of the preferred bidder has not been revealed.
A small number of redundancies have been made since January, with Stoneywood mill reducing by seven positions to 482 staff, Basingstoke losing one role to 28, and Chartham shedding four positions at 86 staff.
The historic Stoneywood Mill has been making fine papers since 1770, while Basingstoke is an associated distribution depot. Chartham has been making translucent papers since 1938.
Earlier this month it emerged there were three potential bidders interested in one or more of the businesses.
Pulp and paper investor Terje Haglund had previously expressed an interest in the Stoneywood and Chartham sites, and is also engaged in trying to put a deal together for Arjo’s French operations.
There was no update on the situation at synthetic paper wing Arjobex in Clacton-on-Sea, which makes Polyart; or at graphic papers sales unit Performance Papers in Manchester, which also went into administration in January. The two operations employ 48 and 11 staff respectively.