Kohlberg buys International Paper division

Mount Kisco, New York-based private equity firm Kohlberg & Company has purchased a specialty paper manufacturer for $180 million.

International Paper announced Monday that it has agreed to sell its industrial paper business to Kohlberg & Company for $180 million (€135 million).

The business, which manufactures lightweight packing and pressure sensitive papers, includes paper mills in DePere and Kaukauna, Wisconsin, as well as the Thilmany Packaging business at the Kaukauna mill. It also includes paper converting facilities in Menasha, Wisconsin, Lancaster, Ohio and Heerlen, Netherlands.

According to a statement, the sale includes a supply contract to produce lightweight specialty papers at International Paper’s Androscoggin, Maine mill.

The division employs around 1,400 people and produces 400,000 tons of paper each year, including the contract work at the Maine mill.

In 2004, International Paper announced that it was “exploring strategic alternatives” for the industrial paper business. International Paper in the world’s largest paper company.

Kohlberg’s fifth fund closed in 2004 at $800 million. The same year, Kohlberg, which also has an office in Palo Alto, California, purchased the sewing machine manufacturer Singer for $160 million. More than half of the firm’s investments are in the manufacturing sector, with smaller commitments in the building products, healthcare, retail and aerospace fields. The firm manages more than $3.7 billion in capital.

The companies expect to close on the sale in the second quarter of 2005.