One of Cambridge UK’s business institutions – office equipment giant Spicers – is set to be sold in a £200m deal to Spanish paper group, Unipapel.
Parent company DS Smith, a paper packaging specialist, wants to divest its Spicers interest to concentrate on its core area of recycled packaging.
It is understood Spicers’ Sawston, Cambridgeshire stronghold, will remain unaffected by the deal. It employs several hundred people there. Spicers remains Europe’s largest office stationery and equipment provider.
Once DS Smith has completed the sale of the Spicers group to Unipapel, Spicers’ UK and Irish interests will be sold on to Better Capital – an investment fund masterminded by entrepreneur Jon Moulton – for £32m.
The UK and Ireland interests are believed to account for about half Spicers’ turnover. The company also has major operations in France, the Benelux countries, Spain, Germany and Italy.
In the last financial year – to April 30 – Spicers increased its profits to £25m (from £21m) on revenues largely unchanged at £715m. Spicers UK turnover is £330m.
Unipapel is understood to be assuming gross Spicers’ assets of £235m and liabilities of £126m. DS Smith will use some of the estimated £60m net profit on the deal to help pay down debt and the balance will be invested in its eastern region operations.