LOS ANGELES & PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--OpenGate Capital, a global private equity firm, announced today that it has completed the sale of one of its legacy, pre-fund investments, NorPaper Group (“NorPaper”), to Gemayel Freres & Chaoui Industriel Group, a Lebanon-based business specialized in recycled corrugated cardboard and packaging products. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
OpenGate Capital acquired NorPaper from Canadian paper conglomerate, Cascades, in 2011. NorPaper is a leading producer of white top testliner paper that is sold to European packaging manufacturers. Realizing an opportunity to increase capacity within NorPaper, OpenGate completed an accretive, add-on acquisition in February of 2015 of DS Smith Packaging Papeterie de Nantes SAS (“Nantes”), a division of DS Smith, Plc (LON: SMDS). Integrated into NorPaper, Nantes broadened the product portfolio and added 50kT per year of production capacity through its white top testliner paper made from 100% recycled fiber with best in class quality and printability. The Nantes mill also addressed growing market demand for paper products in a wider grammage and trim range. Combined, NorPaper and Nantes have an annual capacity of 200kT, making it the leading white top testliner paper producer in France and among the top five in Europe.
Andrew Nikou, OpenGate’s Founder and CEO stated, “We are incredibly proud of OpenGate’s investment in NorPaper from sourcing the acquisition through our relationship with Cascades, to the add-on acquisition from DS Smith. As we transfer the business to Gemayel & Chaoui Industriel Group, we recognize that under the new leadership, NorPaper has many new exciting years ahead. I want to thank the entire NorPaper team led by CEO, Laurent Glachant, for their dedication and hard work in driving this business forward.”
Julien Lagrèze, Partner at OpenGate’s Paris office, oversaw the entire lifecycle of the NorPaper investment from acquisition through add-on acquisition and realization. Lagrèze commented, “NorPaper is a reflection of OpenGate’s lower middle market investment strategy and we are proud of all that has been accomplished. From executing a complete carve-out to implementing a multi-faceted operational improvement plan, which included the development of a cooperative paper swap agreement with several European corrugated cardboard manufacturers, NorPaper sales and margins greatly improved since acquired by OpenGate in 2011. Throughout our investment period, NorPaper grew its paper product offerings that drove increased volumes and end-use applications. Given all that has been accomplished, NorPaper is at the right point in its evolution to be acquired by Gemayel & Chaoui Industriel Group so that it can progress further under new leadership.”
NorPaper’s CEO, Mr. Laurent Glachant stated, “Working with the team at OpenGate Capital has been a rewarding process over the past several years. NorPaper has grown into a highly regarded business, recognized for producing a variety of white top testliner and recycled paper materials for our customers. I want to thank Julien Lagrèze and his team at OpenGate for all of the support we received that enabled us to achieve the growth and improvements at NorPaper. As we look ahead, we are excited to enter into the next phase of our evolution with Mr. Gemayel and his partners.”
This is the second legacy, pre-fund realization for OpenGate in the past six months following the sale of Benvic, a European PVC compounding business that was sold to Investindustrial in December of 2017.
About OpenGate Capital
OpenGate Capital is a global private equity firm specializing in the acquisition and operation of businesses to create new value through operational improvements, innovation and growth. Established in 2005, OpenGate Capital is headquartered in Los Angeles, California with a European office in Paris, France. OpenGate’s professionals possess the critical skills needed to acquire, transition, operate, build and scale successful businesses. To date, OpenGate Capital, through its legacy and fund investments, has executed more than 30 acquisitions including corporate carve-outs, management buy-outs, special situations and transactions with private sellers across North America and Europe. To learn more about OpenGate, please visit www.opengatecapital.com.
NorPaper is one of the main European producers specialized in the manufacture of white top testliner (a component of carton packaging). Through two production facilities, NorPaper creates products out of 100% recycled cellulosic fiber. The company was found in 1865 in the middle of an historic region in the north of France, characterized by the paper industry. NorPaper is located in the center of Europe and is strategically situated close to road networks and ports. With its favorable geographic location, NorPaper provides products and services to the French, European and overseas markets. For more information, please visit www.norpaper.com.