Graphic Packaging partners with International Paper to form $6bn company

25 October 2017 (Last Updated October 26th, 2017 10:20)

Graphic Packaging has formed a new partnership with International Paper's (IP) North America Consumer Packaging business to create a new $6bn paper-based packaging company.

Graphic Packaging has formed a new partnership with International Paper’s (IP) North America Consumer Packaging business to create a new $6bn paper-based packaging company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Graphic Packaging will operate the partnership with a 79.5% interest, while the remaining 20.5% stake will be with IP valuing nearly $1.14bn.

The partnership will also assume a $660m debt of IP.

Graphic Packaging president and CEO Michael Doss said: “We expect the transaction will significantly increase our mill production and converting scale, and meaningfully increase our exposure to the growing foodservice market, provide significant runway to realise synergies, and drive strong financial results.”

IP will have a two-year lock-up on the monetisation of their partnership interest and cannot buy Graphic Packaging shares for a period of five years, subject to some exceptions.

“We expect the transaction will significantly increase our mill production and converting scale, and meaningfully increase our exposure to the growing foodservice market.”

The transaction will not affect Graphic Packaging’s current board of directors nor its leadership team.

International Paper’s North America Consumer Packaging business is valued nearly $1.8bn and manufactures solid bleached sulphate (SBS) paperboard and paper-based foodservice products for the global market.

It owns two SBS mills located in Georgia and Texas, which have an annual combined production of 1.2 million tonnes of SBS.

It also has three converting facilities in the US and one in the UK, which converts SBS paperboard into paper-based cups and cylindrical containers.

The business is estimated to generate adjusted EBITDA of $210m this year.

The transaction is expected to close in early next year, subject to standard closing conditions and regulatory review.

In this transaction, Graphic Packaging’s financial adviser was BofA Merrill Lynch, while Alston & Bird acted as legal counsel.