Last week, UK-based packaging manufacturer Robinson acquired Danish packaging company Schela Plast for £7.7m.

A statement released by Robinson said that the investment was part of the company’s ‘dynamic development strategy’ to continue building on its ‘bespoke, customised model’ and ‘align with its multi-national customers’, due to both companies offering a sustainable portfolio of personal care and household product packaging.

Robinson said that both it and Schela Plast have noticed an increased demand for such packaging since the start of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Schela Plast, established in 1971, offers extrusion blow moulded (EBM) packaging and produced more than 50 million products in 2020. Its technical and design capabilities will allow Robinson to provide for customers at an increased capacity. Meanwhile, Robinson aims to invest in new machinery in both the UK and Poland.

Packaging Gateway spoke with Robinson CEO Helene Roberts to find out more about the acquisition; what it means for the companies, and what the future holds for Robinson.

Jessica Paige: How was this deal decided?

Helene Roberts: The Schela Plast acquisition is an exciting evolution in the Robinson journey. It was the ideal progression for us, only made possible because both companies are aligned in purpose, core values, and relevance for our customer base.

It is not only driven by efficiencies but more importantly, with planned expansion in our existing customer base, will create jobs in support of Robinson being a future-fit organisation.

We always go above and beyond to create a sustainable future for our people and our planet, and this acquisition adds value on so many levels.

Robinson’s strategy to grow revenues profitably ahead of the market is supplemented with this complementary investment, enabling the business to gain scale with a continued focus on serving customers in the food, homecare, and personal care markets. Both Robinson and Schela Plast are successful businesses in their own right and will learn from each other, sharing best practice across all sites.

It is part of our dynamic development strategy allowing us to continue to build on our bespoke, customised model and align with our multi-national customers on the back of three years of successful growth. Offering a complete packaging solution, from cap to bottle, the acquisition adds geographical reach into Northern Europe further strengthening Robinson’s existing position in the UK and Eastern Europe.

JP: What is Robinson’s history of acquisitions?

HR: We have a 60-year history of acquisitions at Robinson to include the VR Plastics business in Stanton Hill, Nottinghamshire and IE Whites Plastics in Kirkby-In-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. We also expanded into Eastern Europe with the purchase of the Lodz factory in Poland and more recently Madrox Plastic Packaging based in Warsaw, Poland.

JP: What is your main aim in acquiring Schela Plast?

HR: Schela Plast, located near Billund in Denmark, currently employs over 40 people, serving both local and international markets in similar sectors to Robinson. Schela Plast is aligned in the market sectors that we serve and similarly has seen an increase in demand for personal care and household product packaging due to the Covid pandemic.

The company boasts both tool making and product design capability and a very broad range of bottle and container sizes. With high usage of recycled content and renewable materials, its sustainable portfolio marries up perfectly with Robinson’s. The additional technical and design capabilities will help continue to meet the growing needs of our customers while increasing capacity and delivering mutual benefit for Robinson and our customers

The partnership means we can offer a total packaging solution across bottles and closures and a more localised extrusion blow moulding offering for our northern European customers – key to sustainability, which is at the heart of our business strategy.

Many companies in Europe and the UK are returning to regionalised production in the pandemic and, as transport is a significant contributor to carbon credentials in the supply chain, the location of Schela Plast is a valuable addition to Robinson’s sustainability strategy.

JP: Will management at Schela Plast change with this acquisition?

HR: We are delighted that the Danish business will continue to be headed up by Morten Jeppesen who will remain as Managing Director. He will also join our leadership team, bringing further skills and diverse experience. Increased business will ultimately lead to more jobs.

JP: What are the terms of this deal?

HR: The company acquired Schela Plast with a total consideration, including earnout, expected to be £7.7m on a debt-free cash-free basis.

Schela Plast has a healthy pipeline of new FMCG business which requires further capital investment. Robinson intends to invest approximately £2.4m for new plant and equipment in Denmark in 2021 to facilitate sustainable business growth.

JP: Does Robinson have any current plans for further acquisitions?

HR: One of our strategic priorities is for sustainable growth, so we will continue to invest in the UK, Denmark and Poland in key areas that protect our people and help them thrive, drive further efficiency within our operations and deliver long-term profitable growth. This will be supplemented by potential acquisitions that add value to our business and have a good strategic and cultural fit.