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OpenGate Capital to Acquire Kotka Mills, a Leading Specialty Paper, Wood Product Manufacturer in Finland, from Stora Enso

Significant Acquisition Expands Private Equity Firm’s Holdings in EU; Offers Value-Creation Potential through Product Launches, Operational Stabilization, Growth

Los Angeles, CA and Paris, France – April 22, 2010 – OpenGate Capital, a global private equity firm, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Kotka Mills division of Stora Enso, a leading manufacturer of wood and paper products based in Finland, for a total consideration of up to €24 million in cash and earnouts. Kotka Mills sells high-quality specialty paper, paper-laminates and wood-based products to the laminate, plywood, construction and magazine industries around the world and is recognized for its strong manufacturing capabilities. The transaction also includes Stora Enso’s laminating paper operations in Malaysia and the business operations of the Tainionkoski paper machine 7, which will remain in Stora Enso’s ownership, but will be leased to OpenGate. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter of 2010.

“The Kotka Mills acquisition will provide OpenGate with exciting value-creation potential through an operational stabilization, product enhancements and expansion opportunities,” commented Andrew Nikou, CEO of OpenGate Capital. “As a stand-alone entity within our portfolio, Kotka Mills will work with our team to refine its production, accelerate the launch of its new products, and extend the breadth of its global footprint. We view the transaction as a platform investment in the wood and paper industry, which experienced difficulties in the recession, yet now offers substantial upside as the market recovers. To unlock this value, we will guide Kotka Mills to grow both organically and through acquisitions, capitalizing on its strong production infrastructure and broad customer base.”

OpenGate focuses on investing in spin-offs and divestitures from leading global organizations such as Stora Enso, a multi-billion dollar publicly traded Finnish company. Kotka Mills, which holds leading market positions within its key territories, has operated as a division of Stora Enso for decades.

The Mill produces well-known brands including saturating base kraft (SBK) paper under the brand Absorbex, impregnated SBK under the brand Imprex, machine finished coated magazine paper under the brand Solaris as well as sawn and planed wood. Principally operated out of Kotka, Finland near Helsinki, Kotka Mills generates approximately €250 million in annual revenue, employs about 570 people and produces positive earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), which adds to its investment appeal.

European partners Robert Lezec and Julien Lagrèze led the transaction for OpenGate Capital. Lezec added, “We were attracted to Kotka Mills' top position in niche markets, wide portfolio of high-quality products and production capabilities. Kotka has invested heavily in research and development during the past few years, which yielded a pipeline of innovative products that we will help the company to launch. Its well-established and respected brand and more than 500 customer relationships are impressive, and will serve as a solid foundation for growth.”

Lagrèze concluded, “This sizeable transaction is important to our European portfolio holdings and further demonstrates OpenGate’s disciplined investment approach. We remain committed to our successful strategy of acquiring businesses around the world that are established divisions of leading global organizations such as Stora Enso. While we are agnostic about the industry, we are fastidious in ensuring that we can create measurable value for our investors in every transaction. Kotka Mills is an example of the right kind of investment for our portfolio.”

OpenGate Capital has been very active in 2010, with additional global acquisitions of NICOLE FARHI and Philips Business Communications. The firm expects to complete other acquisitions in the coming months. OpenGate also owns several businesses in the global publishing arena, including TV Guide and Fleurus Presse, and will explore opportunities for commercial synergies between Kotka Mills and these media portfolio companies.

About OpenGate Capital

OpenGate Capital is an opportunistic private equity firm that acquires controlling interests in businesses with solid fundamentals that exhibit opportunities for operational improvements and growth. Established in 2005, OpenGate Capital has a global footprint with headquarters in Los Angeles, California and a principal office in Paris, France. OpenGate is served by a seasoned team of M&A and operating professionals that bring the skills needed to acquire, operate and build successful companies. The partners of OpenGate have executed more than 100 transactions worldwide ranging from corporate divestitures, turnaround acquisitions, industry consolidations and other special situations investments across a wide array of industries and geographic markets.
For more information about OpenGate Capital, please visit our website at www.opengatecapital.com.

 



OpenGate Media Contact:
Linda Press
CorpCommunicators
+1-213-787-5627
Linda.Press@CorpCommunicators.com
 
OpenGate Business Development Contact:
Dionisio Lucchesi
Vice President
+1-310-432-7000
DLucchesi@opengatecapital.com

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