Hundreds of jobs saved at Aberdeen paper mill

Hundreds of Scottish jobs have been saved after a last-ditch rescue deal for an Aberdeen paper manufacturer which fell into administration nine months ago.

The paper mill has been in operation since 1770.

A total of 450 jobs in Aberdeen and a further 100 in England are to be protected after the sale of the 350 year old Arjowiggins Stoneywood plant.The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, has been made by subsidiaries of a new venture, Creative Paper Holdings Limited, which has been formed by a management buyout team for the purposes of the deal.

The company fell into administration in January after parent company Sequana failed to sell it. Three months later, it was announced that a preferred bidder had been selected by administrators FRP Advisory, but the sale did not go through.

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The new deal has been supported with £7 million of funding from Scottish Enterprise.

Arjowiggins managing director Jonathan Mitchell said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the future of a strong and sustainable business which has such a long heritage in the UK. Arjowiggins Creative Papers has world-renowned market-leading brands and products and a passionate and talented team.

“We are looking forward to taking steps to further strengthen the business and continue to provide first class products and customer service to our clients. The support we have had from our staff, customers, suppliers and the Scottish Government has been incredible and without them this deal would not have been possible. There has been a real combined will to keep this historic business alive.”

Iain Fraser, joint administrator and partner with FRP Advisory, said: “After a challenging eight months for everyone, we are delighted to have concluded a deal with the management buyout team that has saved 450 highly skilled jobs in Scotland and 559 jobs across the UK.

“We wish the new management team and the staff every success with their plans for the future.”

Stoneywood Mill has been making fine papers since 1770 and is Aberdeen’s last paper mill.

The deal also includes the business’ Basingstoke office and Arjowiggins Chartham, which operates the Chartham mill in Canterbury. Following the management buyout, the new company will have 559 employees. In January, a Common Purpose Group was established by Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, with a focus on securing a long-term future for the mill.

Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “I’m very pleased that the management buy-out has been agreed and that a future has been secured for the business and its skilled employees.

“We will now work with the new owners as they continue their proud legacy in Aberdeen and develop their plans for the future.”

Shauna Wright, regional industrial officer with the Unite union, said: “Unite are glad that after an extensive period of uncertainty for the staff and the local community the management buyout of the Stoneywood Mill in Aberdeen has been successful. We look forward to working with the new management structure going forward.”