Priplak escapes Arjowiggins following MBO

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 25 June 2019

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Polypropylene sheet manufacturer and distributor Priplak has untangled itself from Arjowiggins following a management buyout led by its chief executive Thomas Godey.

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Priplak is based in Neuilly-en-Thelle, France

Godey and the three other members of the Neuilly-en-Thelle, France-based company’s management committee worked speedily to put together an offer that would allow Priplak – a profitable company unaffected by the receivership proceedings filed by historical sole shareholder Arjowiggins – to be carved out from the group.

The Priplak management team said they “relied particularly” on French private equity firm NCI to establish Paprika Holding, which enabled them to buy Priplak’s shares in a deal completed on 13 May and “massively reinforce its capital”.

Godey told PrintWeek: “Outside of any circumstance related to the situation of the Arjowiggins group, this has been in the mind of the managers for quite some time.

“Priplak has for a long time been a sort of isolated company in the group, producing different materials from the rest of the group, which is mainly involved with paper manufacturing.

“We have had different markets, different sourcing and industrial organisation, and the local management has been directly involved in recent years in the performance of the company.

“So from being a manager with the company’s strategy in their hands to the actual ability to drive the company’s future, there were only a few steps to make, so the Arjowiggins situation really just came as an additional element that made the whole thing feasible.”

While specifics regarding the stakes held in the company by the MBO team and NCI respectively were undisclosed, Godey said total investment for the deal was “nearly €3m [£2.68m]”, with NCI contributing €1.5m.

Paprika Holding is now aiming to accelerate the company’s growth “based on market differentiation and international development”. It said Priplak’s employees plus suppliers, customers and the local community “have given overwhelming support for the project, which is ambitious for both growth and jobs”.

“Within Europe the company has had a strategy of having a good partition of its sales made between specialised distributors and direct sales,” said Godey.

“We have an ongoing plan in Germany and the German speaking countries where we have made good progress and have been developing our sales quite nicely in recent years. And the rest of the development will be geographical as well; mainly overseas exportation.”

He added: “We are also developing a range of new products, mainly based on the advantages of Polypropylene compared to other materials that can be denser or heavier, and our materials bring a cost advantage for customers due to lightweight and waste reduction.”

NCI associate director Anne-Cécile Guitton added: “The commitment of NCI to Priplak reflects our desire to contribute to the economic development of the region, accompanying the dedicated and ambitious team at Priplak.

“We are convinced by Priplak’s strategy to address new markets and sectors through international development and a strong focus on R&D.”

Established in 1973, Priplak offers Polypropylene sheets in a wide range of different finishes, thicknesses and colours, for presentation, stationery, labelling, packaging and POS applications.

Serving 400 customers across 40 countries in Europe and the US, it has a turnover of €24m and employs 60 staff, all of who have been kept on by the business and will remain based at its current premises.

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