M-real Corporation Stock Exchange Release
M-real has today signed a definitive agreement to sell its Map
Merchant Group to Antalis, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sequana
Capital, for a total enterprise value of EUR 382 million. M-real is
estimated to book a gain of approximately EUR 80 million from the
M-real, part of the Metsäliitto Group, has signed a definitive share
sale agreement to sell the entire share capital of its wholly-owned
subsidiary Map Merchant Holdings BV and all of its subsidiaries
(together the "Map Merchant Group") to Antalis International SAS, a
fully-owned subsidiary of Sequana Capital SA. The total enterprise
value including assumed debt and unfunded pension liabilities amounts
to EUR 382 million. M-real is expected to book a gain of
approximately EUR 80 million from the sale during the quarter when
the sale closes.
M-real and Antalis have also entered into a commercial agreement
which ensures continuity for M-real's product sales through Antalis
and Map sales network. The finalisation of the sale is subject to
regulatory approvals, including the EU competition authorities'
approval, and it is expected to be finalised during Q3 of 2007.
The transaction will be neutral on M-real's profit before tax
(excluding the profit as a result of the disposal). M-real's gearing
is estimated to improve by approximately 21 percentage points upon
the closing of the transaction."The sale of Map Merchant Group to Antalis is
part of M-real's
strategic review and a significant decision concerning M-real's
product distribution. This is also an important step in improving the
operational environment of European paper business. The transaction
will also strengthen M-real's balance sheet and clearly improve
company's financial position thereby giving us stronger position to
continue M-real's development", says Kari Jordan, Chairman of
M-real's Board of Directors, President and CEO, Metsäliitto Group."We will
further develop strong and mutually beneficial partnerships
with European paper merchants. With the sale of Map Merchant Group
M-real has clearly exceeded its targeted proceeds resulting from the
asset sales of EUR 500 million announced as part of our restructuring
programme. The proceeds from the sale will be used to decrease
indebtedness", says Mikko Helander, CEO of M-real.
A press conference for media will be arranged in Espoo Finland,
Revontulentie 6, 8th floor today at 9 am GMT/11 am Finnish time.
Participating in the press conference will be M-real Chairman of the
Board of Directors, Metsäliitto Group President and CEO Kari Jordan,
M-real CEO Mikko Helander and Metsäliitto Group Executive Vice
President, Strategy, Hannu Anttila.
A conference call and webcast for analysts will be arranged today at
11 am GMT/1 pm Finnish time. From UK please dial +44 (0) 20 716 200
25, Sweden +46 (0) 850 520 110, Finland +358 (9) 2313 9201.
Information about Map Merchant Group:
Map Merchant Group is the fourth largest paper merchant group in
Europe with its 50,000-strong customer base of printers, publishers,
advertising agencies and end-users. Map comprises individual
merchants in 23 European countries and supplies both M-real paper and
products by other manufacturers. Map sales 2006 were EUR 1,438
million and it employs approximately 2,400 persons in 23 countries.
Further information for the media:
Lauri Peltola, SVP, Metsäliitto Group Communications, tel. +358 50
Further information for analysts:
Mikko Helander, CEO, M-real, tel. +358 10 469 4959
Jussi Noponen, VP, M-real, tel. +358 10 469 4463