Union Unite has welcomed news that Arjowiggins’ Stoneywood paper mill near Aberdeen is in discussions with an MBO team to deliver a successful transaction of the site over the coming weeks.
Last week PrintWeek reported that the MBO team, which includes Stoneywood mill manager Angus MacSween, is working with Scottish Enterprise and various other parties on a deal for the 489-staff operation, as well as the 90-staff Chartham mill near Canterbury in Kent.
Unite regional industrial officer Shauna Wright said: “Unite is optimistic that a successful buyout of the Stoneywood mill can be achieved in the coming weeks, which would maintain hundreds of jobs on site. The mill has a proud 250 years old history and the news of the buyout option will be welcomed by the workforce.
“However, there is a lot of hard work ahead to get this offer over the line. Throughout this process, Unite will fully support our members and do all we can to ensure that all their terms and conditions, and ultimately their jobs are protected.”
The MBO team’s bid for the Stoneywood and Chartham mills comes after lengthy negotiations with a preferred bidder ended without a sale.
The two mills, along with a sales office in Basingstoke, went into administration in January alongside a number of other related UK businesses due to events at parent company Sequana, which is now in liquidation.
Two months later there were said to be three interested parties, and this was then narrowed down to one preferred bidder by the end of March.
Meanwhile Antalis, of which Sequana is still a major shareholder with a 75% share, said it is continuing to work with advisors Goldman Sachs to set up a new shareholding structure that aims to remove the collapsed paper group as the majority shareholder.
In a statement issued during its recent AGM, the business said: “Antalis points out that the company is making progress in its search for a new shareholder structure with the support of Goldman Sachs. The company will inform the market as soon as it is in a position to announce specific and certain progress.”