Picture: Reuters.

International packaging and paper group Mondi plc (MND) and Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA) have sold their 100% interest in jointly owned Aylesford Newsprint Holdings Limited to The Martland Holdings.

The Martland Holdings is an independent private equity firm which focuses on acquiring non-core divisions of corporations and private companies worldwide.

Aylesford Newsprint‚ located in Kent‚ UK‚ has capacity to produce approximately 400‚000 tonnes of newsprint per annum from 100% recycled fibre. The company supplies the major national newspapers groups in the UK and exports some of its production to mainland Europe.

The shares in Aylesford Newsprint were sold for a nominal consideration satisfied in cash at completion. Immediately prior to completion‚ the company was re-capitalised‚ with the proceeds used to repay in full its interest bearing debt and leave net cash of GBP23 million.

For the year ended 31 December 2011‚ Aylesford Newsprint generated negative EBITDA before special items of GBP4 million and net loss before special items of GBP16 million. Immediately before completion‚ Aylesford Newsprint pro forma gross assets amounted to approximately GBP99 million.

Mondi Group’s loss on disposal of its 50% interest in the company will be approximately EUR71 million‚ accounted for as a non operating special item‚ and the estimated negative cash flow effect of this transaction will be approximately EUR17 million.

Mondi Group CEO David Hathorn said: “This disposal allows us to continue to focus on our core businesses‚ while creating an opportunity for Aylesford to continue supplying newsprint to the major national newspaper groups in the UK.”

The Martland Holdings Executive Director Landry Kouakou said: “We are pleased to partner with Aylesford Newsprint's management and employees for the future success of the company. Aylesford Newsprint's quality industrial asset combined with a strong balance sheet will allow us to build long-term value under current market conditions.” - I-Net Bridge