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Equistone sells Paragon Print & Packaging to Sun European Partners

02 Jan 2013

Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces the successful sale of its investment in Paragon Print & Packaging Limited (“Paragon” or “The Company”), alongside its co-investor LDC, to an affiliate of Sun European Partners, for an undisclosed amount. The deal represents Equistone’s fifth successful exit of 2012.

Lincolnshire-headquartered Paragon is the UK’s leading manufacturer of responsible packaging for the retail food and non-food industry. The Company provides a range of packaging solutions including printed labels, sleeves, cartons, film solutions and lined boards to a number of the UK’s major food retailers. Paragon operates ten manufacturing facilities in the UK and employs more than 1,200 staff.

Since Equistone’s investment, the Company has continued its impressive growth, recording uninterrupted revenue growth with turnover increasing from £113m in 2007 to more than £171m in 2011, despite difficult trading conditions throughout the economic downturn. Equistone has worked alongside the management team to develop the business with a number of initiatives including:

  • Strengthening Paragon’s revenue growth and geographic footprint through acquisitions, new partnerships, and organic growth.
  • Expanding the Company’s customer base to over 1,800 in 2012.
  • Diversifying the Company’s product offering and strengthening Paragon’s customer offering through strategic acquisitions.
  • A number of additional bolt-on acquisitions to build scale in core product areas including Skanem and Sessions of York, both in 2010.
  • The transition of leadership responsibility from the founder of the business and key industry figure, Tony Lennon, to current Group Managing Director Mark Lapping in March 2010. Mark was a highly respected internal candidate who joined the group in 2007, and Tony continues to provide a consultancy role to the management team.

Andrew Murtagh, Director at Equistone, commented:

“We are extremely pleased to have been able to work alongside Paragon’s exceptional management team. Together we have ensured that despite a challenging economic backdrop, the Company has performed strongly through a measured acquisition strategy and consistent organic growth. We wish Mark Lapping and his team every continued success as they progress into the next stage of the Company’s growth.

“The sale of Paragon rounds off a great year for Equistone, representing our fifth successful exit of 2012.”

Mark Lapping, Chief Executive of Paragon Print & Packaging said:

“Equistone has provided a tremendous amount of support during its investment period and we are delighted with the Company’s performance to date, as well as our prime positioning in the market place. Andrew and Paul (Harper) at Equistone have supported Paragon through a particularly exciting period of change, allowing us to diversify our offering both in terms of product and services to customers. The Company is in a good position to continue its growth under Sun European Partners’ ownership.”

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