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Sale falls through for Arjowiggins UK sites

Discussions between a preferred bidder for Arjowiggins Fine Papers and joint administrators for the company have ended without a sale.

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A buyer has not been found for the creative papers business

An MBO team has now emerged as a possible way to save the Stoneywood and Chartham mills, as well as the site in Basingstoke, which were first placed into administration in January 2019.

Nearly 500 people are currently employed at the Stoneywood mill in Aberdeen, with a further 89 staff at Chartham and 28 at the sales office in Basingstoke.

A spokesman for the joint administrators at FRP Advisory comments: “The joint administrators have begun discussions with a management buyout team (MBO) after negotiations with a preferred bidder ended without a sale.

“Discussions will now be progressed with the MBO team, Scottish Enterprise and other interested parties over the coming weeks to explore whether a sale can be secured. In the meantime, it remains ‘business as usual’ and the plant continues to operate.”

In the meantime, it remains ‘business as usual’ and the plant continues to operate

Unite regional officer Shauna Wright comments on the situation: "Unite is disappointed with the news that the preferred buyer is no longer in place. However, we remain optimistic with the news that the Management Team continue to work with Scottish Enterprise and other parties to seek a successful outcome.

“We will of course keep our members informed of any updates however understand it is a very difficult time for them during this whole process."

The Chartham mill has been producing translucent paper since 1938, whilst the Creative Papers business has been operating since 1770.

Sequana, the French parent company of Arjowiggins, was placed into liquidation by the Commercial Court of Nanterre, following an ongoing court dispute with British American Tobacco over distribution of dividends in 2008 and 2009.

In a statement on the company’s website, it says the company is not in a position to meet the commitments of the Arjowiggins companies or to finance the operations and litigation costs.

Sequana is also the majority shareholder in Antalis, which is seeking a new shareholder structure to continue development and implementation of its strategic plan.

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