M&As: Alpla becomes the majority owner of Paboco; Walki to be sold to Japanese paper company Oji

 M&As: Alpla becomes the majority owner of Paboco; Walki to be sold to Japanese paper company Oji

Packaging specialist Alpla says it has taken over shares of Paboco from its joint venture partner Billerud. Terms were not disclosed. Paboco develops bio-based packaging solutions made from pulp. The Danish joint venture was founded in 2019 by Alpla and pulp and paper manufacturer Billerud. Alpla says it is not only taking over Billerud’s shares but as majority shareholder is investing in scaling manufacturing capacity. From the end of 2024, Paboco plans to produce a fully recyclable paper bottle at a new manufacturing site in Denmark.

Paboco (The Paper Bottle Company) develops and produces fibre-based packaging solutions using pulp-forming technology. The company, based in Slangerup, Denmark, was founded in 2019 by Alpla and Billerud as a joint venture. Alpla says it is pushing the rapid industrialisation of the fully recyclable paper bottle made from FSC-certified fibres.

Since 2021, Paboco has been testing the first products on the market together with the Paboco Pioneer Community members: The Absolut Company, Carlsberg Group, The Coca-Cola Company, L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble. After the successful test phase, series production of the next generation of recyclable paper bottles is scheduled to start at the end of 2024.

“The vision of the fully bio-based and recyclable paper bottle has driven the team to create amazing results in just a short development period. With the bottle configuration now, we are targeting the beauty and fabric and home-care segment, but continuous development will also enable us to bring our next-generation bottle into further applications,” explains Tim Silbermann, CEO of Paboco.

For the market launch, the company plans to set up a new manufacturing site and development centre in Denmark. There are currently 18 employees at Paboco – the number of employees is expected to increase significantly by the time series production begins.

In other news, private equity firm One Equity Partners (OEP) has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Walki Holding Oy, a pan-European supplier of sustainable packaging and engineered materials solutions, to Oji Holdings Corporation, a Japanese paper products technology company. Terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 1930 and headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Walki is a specialty packaging materials manufacturer, offering consumer and industrial packaging for food and specialty consumer products, as well as engineered materials, such as insulation and fire-retardant facings, sustainable membranes, and protective clothing applications. The company has 17 production facilities, including in China. and employs more than 1,700 people. OEP's acquisition of Walki closed in July 2018.

“We are humbled by Walki’s performance under our ownership and were pleased to help the business execute on a transformative business expansion strategy with sustainability at its core,” said Marc Lindhorst, Managing Director, One Equity Partners. “We collaborated with management to drive transformative growth opportunities in the packaging and engineered materials end markets while supporting the development of manufacturing methods with reduced adverse environmental effects.”

During OEP’s ownership, Walki saw revenue growth of 125% and made significant investments in long-term environmental sustainability. Investments included the development of alternative materials and production methods to give customers the flexibility to choose the most appropriate packaging solution to mitigate environmental impact.

Walki completed seven acquisitions over OEP’s hold period, including that of Plasbel Plásticos in 2021, to leverage its expertise in producing recycled and compostable packaging and support significant expansion of the Valkeakoski facility in Finland.


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