Lucart Group is a multinational group that, with its over 60 years of history, is today the European leader in the sector of paper for flexible packaging, the Italian leader in the sector of tissue paper, with the Tenderly and Tutto brands, and the main producer in Southern Europe of ecological tissue paper for the consumer market. The Group employs over 1,600 people in ten production plants in Italy, France, Spain, Hungary and Germany, processing approximately 400,000 tons of paper per year. Lucart closed 2020 with a consolidated turnover of over 500 million euros.
Formed in 1990, Essential Supply Products Ltd (ESP) is one of the UK’s leading independent manufacturers and converters of disposable tissue products. Based in Malvern, Worcestershire, ESP supplies tissue paper products and dispenser systems to wholesale distributors, who in turn, serve the Away from Home (non-consumer) market. ESP manufactures a broad range of products for the janitorial, hotel, restaurant, facilities management, catering, industrial and healthcare sectors, as well as just-in-time supply and around-the-clock production. In 2020 ESP achieved GBP 26 million in sales.
The acquisition was of great strategic importance for Lucart Group, allowing it to consolidate its presence in Great Britain, which is the second-largest market in Europe for tissue paper. ESP meanwhile needed an investor to grow the company sustainably and to its full potential.
The transaction had two key challenges to address: COVID-19 and Brexit.
Clairfield was appointed as the buy-side advisor as Lucart had worked with the Italian team in the past. The target company was known to Lucart as they had been working together commercially for years: Lucart mills provide the paper processed at ESP’s manufacturing plant in Malvern. The mandate consisted of agreeing on terms and seeing the transaction through, no easy task throughout the pandemic. While some sectors ESP served, such as catering, had suffered throughout the pandemic, other sectors such as healthcare and hygiene, continued at high levels of activity. Site visits and meetings were conducted online as the Italian team was unable to travel to the UK. Meanwhile, Brexit made ESP an especially attractive target.
The Clairfield team in Milan and Birmingham UK worked together seamlessly to get all parties to agree on the terms of the deal in the midst of a turbulent time and in advance of potential capital gains tax changes in the UK.
The operation is of strategic importance for the entire Group. Thanks to the Clairfield team for making it happen. — Massimo Pasquini, CEO Lucart