Arjo Stoneywood deal expected imminently

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Friday 20 September 2019

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The mooted management buyout of Arjowiggins’ Stoneywood mill in Aberdeen is expected to be finalised “in the coming days” according to local newspaper the Evening Express.

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Arjowiggins’ Stoneywood mill employs 489 staff

The anticipated completion of the deal for the 489-staff operation follows the appointment of six directors – including mill manager Angus MacSween – to a new company called AW Creative Papers Group.

Its other listed directors are Christophe Jordan, who is also listed on Companies House as a director of Arjowiggins Chartham, Gilbert Soulabaille, Beatrice Pohu, Charles De James and Jorge Sauras Lopez.

The new company was incorporated on 25 June, with the appointments taking place on 10 September.

Unite regional industrial officer Shauna Wright said: “We are still waiting to hear if the buyout has been successful.

“Unite are working with the management buyout committee and we are awaiting news. We are continuing to support members through this trying time.”

Administrators FRP Advisory did not want to comment on the speculation.

The Stoneywood mill was placed into administration on 15 January, along with the rest of Arjowiggins’ UK operations.

The administrators had accepted a bid for the mill from one party on 26 March 2019, after a teaser document outlining the purchase opportunity was circulated to approximately 300 potential buyers.

They engaged in a due diligence process with the bidder, with a view to completing a sale of the business and assets by the end of April.

However, in their six-month progress report on the situation, the administrators said it became clear shortly after that this party was unable to secure the necessary funding to complete a purchase. The administrators therefore reverted back to previously interested parties to explore whether any were in a position to complete a going concern sale.

The group’s previous management advised the administrators of their interest in purchasing the Stoneywood mill, as well as the Chartham mill in Canterbury, in May, and negotiations have been ongoing since then.

Scottish Enterprise, which provides grants and funding to businesses in Scotland, said in July that it agreed in principle to offer financial support for the MBO deal. A spokesperson for the organisation recently told Printweek it had conditionally approved its offer of support.

Scottish National Party minister for business, fair work and skills Jamie Hepburn told the Evening Express: “The Scottish Government, alongside Scottish Enterprise, has been working extensively with the administrator, the management team and our partners to explore all options to secure the best possible outcome for this business and its employees.

“Throughout this process I have been in regular contact with the administrator, Unite and the local management, and I remain hopeful a positive outcome will be achieved.”

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