Britton buyer Sun expands again with Unterland acquisition

Sun European Partners, owner of UK plastic packaging firm Britton Group, has added to its growing portfolio of packaging companies by buying Austrian-based flexible plastic specialist Unterland from Mondi.

This development is the latest step in the buyout firm’s strategy to become an integrated player in the European market and follows its recent acquisition of flexible packaging firm Britton Group.

Unterland provides film-based flexible packaging solutions for both consumer and industrial applications.

It has been operating for more than 50 years and offers a range of polyethylene and polypropylene products including films for lamination, printed and stretch films, bread packaging, stretch tubes and converting films.

Unterland was originally acquired by Mondi in 2007.

Expansion in Europe

Speaking to PN, Sun European Partners principal Paul Daccus said that the firm was in the process of building three packaging platforms which included beauty, rigid and flexible packaging.

“This latest acquisition will take our flexible packaging platform to €350m revenues. Our aim is to do what we did in the US with our Expopack business and do the same in Europe.

“That has $1bn of sales and we wish to do the same in Europe in each of our three strands [packaging].

“We are quite keen to pick up good business with good products and good customers.”

Daccus also said that Sun European Partners is interested in the packaging market because of its “operational leverage”. He said that there was so much you could do with a business to improve operating performance and profits.

Daccus said that Sun European Partners has had an eye on Unterland “for a while”, ever since 2007 when Mondi bought it.

“It is an exciting acquisition and part of a larger strategy to build a pan-European flexible packaging group.”

‘Fifteenth packaging transaction’

Sun European Partners vice president Philippe Neuschaefer said: “Unterland is a great fit with our existing pan-European flexible packaging platform and we are delighted by the prospect of driving further growth in the business.

“This is our fifteenth packaging transaction in the past five years and we are excited to continue building on our extensive experience in this sector.”

Unterland chief executive Peter Tilich said: “This is an important agreement in the evolution of our company. Unterland’s strategic focus is increasingly centred on higher value‐added segments and we will continue to invest in technological capabilities to develop innovative products in this area.

“Sun European Partners will be an excellent partner given its tremendous experience in the packaging sector and clear understanding of our unique positioning within it. We look forward to working with them to drive further growth at the company.”

Sun Capital, the US-based parent company of Sun European Partners, owns packaging business with a total turnover of more than $3bn.

Among its recent acquisitions are tube maker Betts Group and Alcan’s former beauty packaging business, which it has rebranded as Albéa.

Sun’s packaging empire

  • Total turnover $3.1bn
  • Packaging companies owned include Albéa, Reuther Verpackung, Huhtamaki Rigid Plastics, Veriplast Solutions, Betts Global, Paccor, Exopack Holding, Britton Group, PaperWorks Industries

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