Premier Paper acquired by Japan Pulp & Paper

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Friday 05 July 2019

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Paper merchant Premier Paper Group has been acquired by Japan Pulp and Paper Company (JPP).

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Premier Paper Group turned over £233m in 2018

In a deal completed today (5 July), JPP has acquired the entire share capital of RADMS Paper Limited, Premier's holding company.

Turning over $5bn (£4bn), JPP is a global company that employed 3,900 people prior to the acquisition across a raft of sectors, including property, ICT systems, renewable energy, recycling, paper manufacturing – mainly tissue and packaging papers – and paper distribution.

The business has operations in North America, Central America, Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and Europe – including Japan Pulp & Paper GmbH in Germany and Price & Pierce in Finland – and is best known in the UK for its publishing merchant Gould Paper Sales.

Birmingham-headquartered Premier Paper’s management team will remain in place. The company, which employs 480 people, all of whom have been kept on following the acquisition, turned over £233m in 2018.

Premier Paper managing director Dave Allen said Premier’s strategy of diversifying into parallel market sectors, such as display and packaging, whilst maintaining its position in the core coated and uncoated sector, will continue. The business launched its new Display Graphics division in April.

“We believe that being part of JPP will help us achieve our business growth objectives and continue to provide a wide choice of products and a first class level of service to customers across the UK,” he said.

“This in turn will ensure that Premier Paper continues to prosper, providing a secure future for the company and all employees.”

Group marketing director David Jones told PrintWeek: “We’ve had contact with JPP for a number of years on various levels and this was just a development from that.

“Part of JPP’s strategy has been to become more of a global force in paper distribution. We’re probably one of the better paper merchants in Europe in terms of performance because the company is very focused on costs but also on service.

“The acquisition will enhance [Premier's] strategy rather than change it. It may accelerate it and we’ll be able to share and prepare information with what will now be our sister companies in different parts of the world.”

He added: “The operational management team remains the same; what will change is the broader overseas corporate governance because our new owners will have three positions on that board.

“Graham Griffiths has stepped down as our non-executive chairman and two of our non-executive directors have also stepped down.”

All of RADMS’ prior shareholders will remain with the business, with the exception of Richard Minns who retired in 2016.

While any changes in branding have yet to be finalised, Jones said “if it’s like any of the other companies that they own around the world, the JPP branding is at the corporate level rather than at the trading level”.

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