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Federal Court approves Spicers sale to Japan’s KPP for $147m

The Federal Court of Australia has approved a $147.6 million ‘scheme of arrangement’ for the sale of paper company and wide format supplier Spicers, formerly PaperlinX, to Tokyo-based global paper giant Kokusai Pulp & Paper Co (KPP).

  (Image courtesy Spicers)

Spicers says it has lodged the court’s decision with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, making the deal to sell the company’s entire Australia and New Zealand operations now “legally effective.” 

Shareholders last month voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal, first revealed in January, that was recommended unanimously by the Spicers board.

Spicers applied for its shares to cease trading on the ASX after the close of trading last Thursday.

In a statement to the ASX, Spicers said it was “pleased to announce that the Federal Court of Australia has approved the scheme of arrangement.”

The Scheme and associated return of capital are expected to be implemented on Tuesday, 16 July 2019 ('Implementation Date'). Spicers shareholders who hold shares at 7.00pm (Melbourne time) on Tuesday, 9 July are currently expected to receive a total cash payment in the range of 7 cents to 7.2 cents per share on the Implementation Date.

Before last month’s shareholders’ vote, chairman Jonathan Trollip told the meeting: “With global pulp and paper operations, a similar culture and values, and as a business partner of Spicers for many years, KPP is a natural owner for Spicers.”

KPP has global business operations focused on paper, packaging and other products. Group sales are reported at JPY377.7 billion ($A4.8 billion), with 956 staff employed across 26 sites globally, including Melbourne-based subsidiary, Daiei Australia.

Former paper merchant PaperlinX changed its name to Spicers in 2015 to refocus on its Australasian businesses and continue its expansion into signage, display and packaging as it recovered from the collapse of the PaperlinX business in Europe, which resulted in the loss of an estimated $A300 million.

Spicers said it would confirm the final amount to be paid to shareholders before 16 July.