Hundreds of jobs saved at paper mill after management buyout

The future of a paper mill has been secured and hundreds of jobs saved after a management buyout.

A total of 559 people are employed by Arjowiggins Fine Papers Limited and Arjowiggins Chartham Limited – with 450 of the jobs at the company’s Stoneywood Paper Mill in Aberdeen.

Administrators at FRP Advisory had been called in early in 2019 but have now confirmed a management buyout for a “undisclosed sum” meant the jobs had been saved.

The deal has gone ahead with investment from the new management team and the support of Scottish Enterprise, it was revealed.

A new company, Creative Paper Holdings Limited, has been set up to take over operations, including at the Stoneywood mill, which has been operating since 1770.

Jonathan Mitchell, managing director of the new firm, said there had been “a real combined will to keep this historic business alive”.

In addition to saving the jobs in Aberdeen, the deal will also mean the Chartham Mill plant in Kent – which employs 82 people and manufactures translucent papers – is retained along with along with 27 people who work at the company’s administrative centre in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Mr Mitchell said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the future of a strong and sustainable business which has such a long heritage in the UK.

“Arjowiggins Creative Papers has world-renowned market-leading brands and products, and a passionate and talented team.

“We are looking forward to taking steps to further strengthen the business and continue to provide first-class products and customer service to our clients.”

He added: “The last nine months has been an unsettling time for the company and we are extremely grateful to the administrators, FRP Advisory, for having allowed the business to continue to trade while we found a workable solution.

“The support we have had from our staff, customers, suppliers and the Scottish Government has been incredible and without them this deal would not have been possible.”

Scottish Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said he was delighted the future of the “historic” Aberdeen mill had been secured with the buyout.

He added: “This is great news for the employees and their families, and indeed welcomed across Aberdeen, the north-east and further afield.

“The Scottish Government, through Scottish Enterprise, has been working intensively with the administrator, management team, Unite and local partners throughout this entire process to secure this positive outcome.

“The priority now is to work closely with the new owners to realise their plans for the long-term success of the business, and identify future opportunities in the sector, which ultimately benefits the local economy and wider north-east economy.”

Iain Fraser, joint administrator and partner with FRP Advisory said: “After a challenging eight months for everyone, we are delighted to have concluded a deal with the management buyout team that has saved 450 highly skilled jobs in Scotland and 559 jobs across the UK.

“The support we have received from the staff, Unite union, suppliers, customers, politicians and the local communities has been crucial, particularly the outstanding team effort provided by everyone at the Stoneywood plant to keep the business trading in order to provide the management buyout team with the maximum help to complete a complex deal.

“We would like to thank them for their help and shared determination to save the businesses.

“We wish the new management team and the staff every success with their plans for the future.”

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