Finnish fibre-based materials firm Ahlstrom-Munksjö has reached an agreement to acquire US speciality paper products manufacturer Expera Speciality Solutions from KPS Capital Partners for a total consideration of $615m.

Expera’s key product categories include food processing and packaging, pressure-sensitive release liner and industrial & technical segments in North America.

The acquisition will increase Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s footprint in North America, bolster its product offering, and almost triple its net sales in the US.
The transaction will also offer growth opportunities and enhance US production capacity with the addition of four paper mills, of which two are integrated into pulp production in Wisconsin.

“Expera contributes to our global platform with their competences, a high quality offering and a team that drives customer value, innovations and sustainability.”

Ahlstrom-Munksjö president and CEO Hans Sohlström said: “Together, our combined, complementary capabilities and expertise will further strengthen our position in fibre-based materials and will enable us to offer even more solutions, value and efficiencies to our customers in North America and around the world.

“Expera contributes to our global platform with their competences, a high-quality offering and a team that drives customer value, innovations and sustainability.

“As a larger company with a strong balance sheet and greater earnings generation this transaction paves the way for further profitable growth to be carried out both organically and through acquisitions.”

Last year, Expera’s annual net sales stood at $721m.

Expera CEO Russ Wanke said: “This is an important development for our customers, employees and communities, as we continue to capitalise on the strength of the speciality paper industry worldwide, and provide innovative products with a superior level of service.”

Ahlstrom-Munksjö expects to achieve preliminary cost synergies of around $10m by the end of next year.

The company has secured financing from Nordea Bank and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken to fund the acquisition.

Expera was created in June 2013 from the merger of the speciality paper businesses of Thilmany and Wausau Paper.

Subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the transaction is anticipated to be completed in the second half of this year.