Arjowiggins’ UK paper business folds up

FRP Advisory has been appointed as administrators of Arjowiggins Fine Papers, in a move which puts more than 500 jobs at risk at Stoneywood Mill in Aberdeenshire and other paper production facilities around the UK

As well as the mill, which has been in operation for more than 200 years, Arjowiggins UK pulp and fine paper business also has a distribution depot in Basingstoke with 29 staff.

The trading companies within the Arjowiggins UK business, all of which have entered administration include Arjowiggins Fine Papers, Arjowiggins Chartham, Performance Papers, Arjobex and the Wiggins Teape Group.

Tom MacLennan and Geoff Rowley have been appointed with Phil Reynolds as joint administrators of Arjowiggins Chartham, which operates the 90-staff Chartham Mill in Kent. Across the other sites, 11 people work at Performance Papers in Manchester, 48 people work at Arjobex in Clacton on Sea, Essex and seven people work at the Wiggins Teape Group in Manchester.

The UK companies form part of the creative papers division within French parent company Sequana. The administrations of the UK businesses follow on from receivership proceedings beginning for some of Arjowiggins’ French subsidiaries.

The administrators said there are no immediate plans for redundancies in any of the UK businesses, but that this position ‘will continue to be assessed’.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator and FPR Advisory partner, said: ‘Rising pulp prices and energy costs have made trading conditions extremely difficult in this market and the insolvency proceedings begun in France left the directors no option but to place the UK businesses of Arjowiggins in administration.

‘We will continue to trade the businesses whilst seeking buyers and would urge interested parties to make contact as soon as possible.’

In a separate statement, Sequana said that 'under the aegis of administrators, these procedures will help support the measures undertaken to find buyers for Arjowiggins’ businesses’.  The French company was planning to sell its graphic and creative papers business to the Finnish paper company Fineska in a €125m deal, but negotiations failed just before Christmas with Sequana citing ‘deteriorating market conditions’.

Report by Pat Sweet

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