Private Equity Firm Gets Banged up by Commercial Print Deal

Mark Hahn, CFO/COO and corporate development officer of FLM Graphics.

Private equity firms love the paper and package printing industries, but spurn further relationships with commercial printing companies. Atlas Holdings, the fund behind recycled fiber tissue manufacturer Soundview Paper Company (née Marcal) joined Blue Wolf Capital, its co-investor in Finch Paper, to acquire Twin Rivers Paper. Twin Rivers manufactures packaging, label and publishing papers in New Brunswick, Canada, and Maine. In an apparently unrelated coincidence of names and products, Peak Rock Capital acquired Atlas Paper Mills, a manufacturer of tissue from recycled fibers in Miami, FL. Private equity giant, H.I.G. Capital, acquired Caraustar Industries, a manufacturer of paperboard products and printer of folding cartons. Nekoosa Coated Products, backed by Wingate Partners, moved further away from commercial printing paper with the completion of its acquisition of IGI Corporation which manufactures specialty printing and masking substrates. These deals continue the steady flow of PE-backed deals in the paper industry, with new nuptials every month to date this year.

Wellspring Capital has apparently been dented by its foray into commercial printing. Its portfolio company, Hess Print Solutions, formed by the PE firm in 2006 with the merger of two Midwest printing companies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filed motions include a plan for a prepackaged shotgun wedding through a 363 sale of its assets to Bang Printing.

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Mark Hahn is a Managing Director and Founder of Graphic Arts Advisors, a boutique strategic financial advisory and consulting firm focused exclusively on the printing, packaging and related industries. He assists company owners and management, as well as their lenders, investors and shareholders in the following areas: mergers and acquisitions, sale of business, strategic and financial advisory, capital structure and funding, financial analysis, interim and turnaround C-level management and business valuations. Mark is the author of The Target Report and is regularly published and quoted in printing industry trade and management journals. Mark can be reached at mark@graphicartsadvisors.com.
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