BillerudKorsnäs sells pellet producer SIA Latgran to AS Graanul Invest

BillerudKorsnäs divests its Baltic pellets operations SIA Latgran to AS Graanul Invest

2015-05-22 11:00

BillerudKorsnäs has signed an agreement with AS Graanul Invest concerning the sale of its shares in SIA Latgran. Latgran is a leading Latvian based pellets producer with annual volumes of 497 thousand tonnes and sales of EUR 73 million in 2014. BillerudKorsnäs’ ownership in Latgran is 75 percent, and the remaining 25 percent is owned by Baltic Resources AB. The total consideration for 100 percent of the Company amounts to EUR 104 million on a cash and debt free basis, corresponding to a multiple of 7x Latgran’s EBITDA for 2014.

Through this acusisation AS Graanul Invest continues it´s specatular fast growth as a leading European  pellet producer with a combined production exceeding  1.4 million tons. Only a few months ago  the company inaugurated it´s seventh production plant in Võrumaa, Sõmerpalu county, with a capacity of 300 000 tons. In March the company also announced land accusation for a new production plant of 150 000 t/y in western Latvia in the Broceni district.

Per Lindberg, CEO of BillerudKorsnäs comments on the transaction:
“Latgran has shown a strong sales and earnings development during our ownership and has been a great investment for BillerudKorsnäs. Meanwhile, BillerudKorsnäs has increasingly evolved towards a more focused company, working with renewable packaging material and solutions that has become our core business. The sale of Latgran is in line with our strategy and will enable us to continue to develop our core business. At the same time the transaction strengthens Latgran’s ability to further develop its pellets business together with Graanul Invest.”

Ilmars Kass, CEO of Latgran, comments:
“The market for utility-grade pellets is evolving rapidly with European countries leading the way globally. Baltic producers have a strong foothold in the market. The combination of Latgran and Graanul will create the largest European pellet producer and a top global player with expected total production of 1.8 million tonnes of pellets in 2015.”

Raul Kirjanen, CEO of Graanul, said the following:
“Latgran is an outstanding success story amongst European pellet producers. Management has done a phenomenal job building a highly efficient producer.  Acquisition of Latgran provides us with many opportunities which are expected to strengthen our competitive position in the global pellet markets. Through our joined volume we can provide to our customers more flexibility, wider range of different logistical solutions and even better security of supply situation. I am very enthusiastic for the prospects of the combined entity.”

Raul Kirjanen continues:

” The international pellet business has entered a new phase it has become more mature. We have already seen consolidation deals elsewhere, the American company Enviva has bought Green Circle.  I believe we will se more business deals like this during the year to come.”

The transaction is expected to close during July 2015, provided that certain closing conditions are fulfilled.

SEB Corporate Finance and Superia Corporate Finance have acted as financial advisers and Cederquist is the legal advisor to BillerudKorsnäs in connection with the transaction.

About Graanul Invest

AS Graanul Invest is a privately owned company, established in 2003, and focuses on forestry, development of bioenergy and the production of renewable energy. The company has since inception shown strong growth and is currently the biggest producer of pellets in the Baltic countries and the second largest in Europe with an annual production capacity of 853 thousand tonnes.

About Latgran

Latgran, established in 2004, is a leading producer of utility grade pellets in Latvia. Latgran employs 123 people and produced 497 thousand tonnes of pellets in its four factories and generated sales of approximately EUR 73 million in 2014. The vast majority of production is exports primarily to major electricity and regional thermal energy producers in Northern and Western Europe. The company expects volumes to grow by approximately 20% in 2015 owing to the successful launch of a new pellet factory in Gulbene in H2 of last year.