OpenGate Capital to Buy Norampac Avot-Vallee

Buyout shop OpenGate Capital will buy France-based Norampac Avot-Vallee, a producer of recycled packaging materials, from publicly traded Cascades Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not released. OpenGate is based in Los Angeles and was formed in 2005.

OpenGate Capital, a global private equity firm, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Norampac Avot-Vallee, a producer of packaging materials composed of recycled fibers, from Cascades, Inc. (Toronto Stock Exchange: CAS).

Located in the North of France, Norampac Avot-Vallee manufactures White Testliner, a specialty paper that is made 100% from recycled fibers and used for a wide variety of packaging products. With an annual production in excess of 145,000 tons, Norampac Avot-Vallee has been the leading producer of White Testliner in France for many years and services a vast range of blue-chip European industrial paper and packaging customers.

“We were excited about the possibility of adding Norampac Avot-Vallee to our portfolio as soon as we started due diligence,” said Andrew Nikou, OpenGate Capital’s Founder and Managing Partner, “because we recognized its formidable leadership position and underlying value. We also noted that it would strategically complement our other wood and paper industry holding, Kotka Mills. In addition, we discovered the enormous potential for expansion of this well-respected brand – both through acquisitions and organic growth. Finally, we are thrilled that the company’s production is green.”

Norampac Avot-Vallee boasts many key assets including a modern infrastructure and plant, which was founded on the strong environmental values of recovery and recycling. Its ideal geographic location enables the company to efficiently service and consistently deliver customers the high-quality products for which it is renowned. In addition, Norampac Avot-Vallee possesses unique industrial know-how coupled with a strong corporate culture that is evidenced in the organization’s highly skilled and loyal base of 160 employees. While Norampac Avot-Vallee has been a division of Cascades for many years, the organization has been operating very autonomously, and has developed its own reputation as a differentiated, high-quality supplier within the markets it serves.

European partners Robert Lezec and Julien Lagreze led the transaction for OpenGate Capital. Messrs. Lezec and Lagreze will work closely with Norampac Avot-Vallee’s existing management team to strengthen the company’s already solid operational and financial fundamentals, as well as to drive its expansion in France and other European markets.

Both OpenGate and Norampac Avot-Vallee executives are eager to reinvigorate the company and build on its successes. Laurent Glachant, Norampac Avot-Vallee CEO, will continue on as the company’s leader, working with OpenGate to implement a sound, yet aggressive growth strategy.

“OpenGate not only recognizes our unique operational capabilities and our distinctive product positioning, but also shares a common vision for the future of Norampac Avot-Vallee,” said Mr. Glachant. “The firm’s understanding of our industry, combined with its hands-on approach to working with its portfolio companies, will be key to enabling our company to achieve new heights. We look forward to actualizing our vision to extend our dominant position in the White Testliner market throughout Europe and potentially beyond,” he concluded.

About OpenGate Capital
OpenGate Capital is a private equity firm that acquires controlling interests in businesses with solid fundamentals that exhibit opportunities for operational improvements and growth. Established in 2005, OpenGate Capital has a global footprint with headquarters in Los Angeles, California and a principal office in Paris, France. OpenGate is served by a seasoned team of M&A and operating professionals that bring the skills needed to acquire, operate, and build successful companies. The partners of OpenGate have executed more than 75 transactions worldwide ranging from corporate divestitures, turnaround acquisitions, industry consolidations and other special situations investments across a wide array of industries and geographic markets.

About Cascades, Inc.
Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products that are composed mainly of recycled fibers. The Company employs close to 12,500 employees, who work in more than 100 units located in North America and Europe. Its management philosophy, its experience of over 45 years in recycling and its continued efforts in research and development are strengths that enable Cascades to create new products for its customers.