31 May 2020 Events

Flint Group is prepared for sale

The final elements in the preparations for the sale of Flint Group are almost in place as current owners prepare to bow out.

Flint Group is close to completing a change of ownership, according to reports from the financial world.

The group is in the hands of private equity owners Goldman Sachs, and Koch Industries is said by Reuters to be close to agreeing a deal to amend and extend loans totalling €1.7 billion. This would push the maturity date out by two years on slightly changed terms.

This is considered a precursor to the eventual sale of what is the world’s second largest ink maker after Dainippon Ink & Chemicals, owner of Sun. It reports that Flint was put up for sale at the end of last year.

Since then the company has been affected by supply chain disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the trade dispute between the US and China. Sales, which have also been hit by the pandemic with Ebitda for this year, are expected to be short of the €266 million it reported for 2019.

The sale may result in division for a business that spans inks and consumables for commercial printing and packaging and which also owns Xeikon. The current business was formed when Flint’s owner CVC led the merger of Flint with BASF and Akzo Nobel to form a group that was sold in 2014 to Goldman Sachs and Koch at a valuation of more than €2.2 billion.

Before then, Flint had been the result of M&A activity, acquiring ink makers in Europe and the UK, including Manders. Other brands that have been swallowed up include Day blankets, HydroDynamic Products and Russel Webb. Before the final merger, Flint had also moved into inkjet printing through the creation of Jetrion which was sold to EFI together with an inkjet label press that has since become part of Xeikon.

The new owners of a single business or of two packaging and printing operations is most likely to be a further private equity groupings, though if the company is split trade buyers might be involved.

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Flint Group is up for sale as its private equity owners for the last five years look for an exit. A further round of private equity appears the most likely result for what is the world's second largest ink maker.

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