South African pulp and paper company Sappi has signed an agreement to acquire the speciality paper business of Swiss digital printing firm Cham Paper Group (CPG) for Sfr146.5m ($149m).

Sappi is a global producer of dissolving wood pulp, speciality and packaging papers, graphic paper and biomaterials.

The transaction will include the acquisition of CPG’s Carmignano and Condino mills in Italy, as well as the company’s digital imaging business in Cham, Switzerland, in addition to all its brands and expertise.

“This transaction will increase profitability and unlock the significant growth and innovation potential inherent within the speciality paper market.”

Sappi chief executive officer Steve Binnie said: “This acquisition further strengthens Sappi’s speciality paper business both in Europe and globally by combining Cham’s strong brands and assets with Sappi’s global reach.

“This transaction will increase profitability and unlock the significant growth and innovation potential inherent within the speciality paper market.

“I am very pleased that we have taken another signification step towards realising our Vision2020 goal.”

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The acquisition will be funded through internal cash resources.

Conditional to approval from certain competition authorities, the transaction is expected to be concluded during the first quarter of next year.

Sappi Europe chief executive officer Berry Wiersum said: “We are very excited about the possibilities this transaction opens up for Sappi, as well as for Cham’s highly respected business.

“The products and brands which have been acquired are an excellent complement to our market offering, enabling us to offer our existing, as well as new customers in Europe, North America and globally, a broader range of products coupled with excellent customer service.”

Following the acquisition, the speciality paper business of CPG will continue to function separately and independently from Sappi until clearances from the authorities are obtained.