Sequana has finalised the sale of its US coated fine paper business. The company sold its Appleton Coated subsidiary to US company Virtus Holdings. Appleton Coated will continue to operate in the same segments as before.
Sequana has announced the divestment of its US subsidiary Appleton Coated to Virtus Holdings, a company formed by members of Appleton Coated's management. The divestment had been finalised on 19 December, the paper maker said. This step marks Sequana's withdrawal from the coated fine paper market in the USA. The company had already announced its intention to divest the subsidiary in April last year, saying that the sales process had begun in the last quarter of 2013. A (potential) buyer has since not been mentioned.
Appleton Coated said it would continue to operate under the same name, with no substantial business, personnel or operational changes planned for the immediate future. The company would remain committed to the coated freesheet segment, although market conditions had been challenging in recent years, Appleton Coated's CEO Doug Osterberg said, adding that in the past years the paper maker had substantively diversified its product portfolio with over 40% of revenue now generated from products outside of the traditional core segment. Appleton Coated had entered the coated fine paper market in 1996.
The paper maker received financial support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The agency is reportedly providing Appleton Coated with a $4m loan for the purchase of equipment. The terms of the loan require that the company maintain the existing 570 jobs at the mill and create 27 new jobs.
Appleton Coated says it is currently the fourth-largest producer of coated fine paper in North America. The company operates a mill in Combined Locks, Wisconsin. The site has three paper machines with a combined capacity of 400,000 tpy of coated and uncoated woodfree papers as well as specialty and technical papers. Its products are used in various applications such as commercial printing, textbook publishing, label papers and transactional printing. The mill's coating and finishing line has a capacity of 280,000 tpy. Appleton Coated counts 570 employees and generates sales revenues of around €250m.