Expera Specialty Solutions, a portfolio company of KPS Capital Partners, has closed its buy of certain assets related to the Old Town Fuel & Fiber pulp mill. No financial terms were disclosed. The acquisition was made via a bankruptcy auction.
NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — KPS Capital Partners, LP (“KPS”) announced today that its portfolio company Expera Specialty Solutions, LLC (“Expera” or the “Company”) has acquired certain assets related to the Old Town Fuel & Fiber pulp mill (“Old Town”). Expera acquired the assets free and clear of substantially all liens, claims, encumbrances and interests through an auction conducted as part of a sale process under Section 363 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine formally approved the transaction on December 5, 2014.
KPS formed Expera in May 2013 as a platform for investments serving the specialty paper products for the food packaging, industrial and pressure-sensitive release liner segments. At that time, KPS also announced Expera’s first two acquisitions, the specialty paper business of Wausau Paper Corp. (NYSE: WPP) and Thilmany, the specialty paper business of Packaging Dynamics Corporation.
Founded more than a century ago and located in Old Town, ME, Old Town is a high-quality pulp mill with the capacity to produce annually 200,000 tons of Northern Bleached Kraft pulp. The mill closed indefinitely in August 2014. Expera intends to invest significant capital and resources into Old Town to restart the mill and ensure the highest level of production quality and capacity.
Raquel Palmer, a Partner of KPS, said, “KPS created Expera to consolidate the specialty paper industry. In only a brief 18 month period, the new, integrated Expera is the largest specialty paper company in North America. The Company’s growth trajectory and financial performance has exceeded our expectations. The acquisition of Old Town demonstrates the Company’s commitment to leading the specialty paper industry. We are thrilled that Expera’s acquisition of the assets of Old Town and restart of the mill will save more than 150 premium manufacturing jobs that were lost, and provides the community with a stable and profitable employer. Expera’s conservative capital structure, coupled with its access to KPS’ material capital resources, positions the company to grow aggressively both organically and through acquisitions.”
Russ Wanke, Chief Executive Officer of Expera said, “I’m excited to welcome the Old Town employees back to work and to the Expera family. Expera is a financially strong enterprise with an excellent platform positioned for expansion and growth. Under Expera, Old Town will have significant top-line stability and will benefit from our commitment to continuous improvement and manufacturing excellence. Old Town provides Expera with added internal capabilities, allowing us to deliver to our customers more product innovation and even better service.”
Critical to the success of this acquisition was the support of the United Steelworkers.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP and Pierce Atwood LLP served as legal counsel to Expera and KPS.
Expera is a leading North American manufacturer of specialty paper products for use in the pressure-sensitive release liner, industrial and food packaging segments. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Expera employs approximately 2,000 people across five manufacturing facilities located in Rhinelander, WI, Mosinee, WI, Kaukauna, WI, De Pere, WI, and Old Town, ME. Additional information regarding Expera, its manufacturing facilities and its product offerings can be found at www.experaspecialty.com.
About KPS Capital Partners, LP
KPS is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of investment funds with more than $5.7 billion of assets under management. KPS seeks to realize significant capital appreciation by making controlling equity investments in companies across a diverse range of manufacturing industries experiencing a period of transition or challenged by the need to effect immediate and significant change. The KPS investment strategy is based primarily upon partnering with world-class management teams to effect material and sustainable improvements in the operations of its businesses. Thereafter, KPS focuses on growing its businesses, both organically and through strategic acquisitions. KPS portfolio companies have aggregate annual revenues of approximately $6.2 billion, operate 102 manufacturing facilities in 26 countries, and employ more than 46,000 associates, directly and through joint ventures worldwide. The KPS investment strategy and portfolio companies are described in detail at www.kpsfund.com.