London-based private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe said it has acquired a majority stake in the Sihl Group alongside its current management, from Italian business Diatec Holding. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of coated papers, films, and fabrics and operates on a global scale.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal closing is subject to competition authority approval.

The Sihl Group has specialised in the coating of paper, films, and fabrics for over 100 years, nowadays primarily for digital printing, and has roots reaching back over 500 years. Its customers include companies from a diverse range of sectors, such as architecture, printing and publishing, industrials, advertising and design, photography, and transport and logistics, as well as private individuals.

With factories in Bern, Switzerland, and Düren, Germany, a logistics and converting centre in Fiskeville, Rhode Island, US, and an extensive network of distribution, the company is one of the leading manufacturers of coated and converted papers, films, and fabrics.

Sihl Group has built an innovative product portfolio through intensive R&D activity and its modern production facilities. Its offering ranges from premium papers for photo and art printing and large-format media for inkjet or laser printing, through thermal papers for tickets, labelling materials, packaging materials, and self-adhesive products, to coated papers and films for industrial applications.

In 2015, the company employed over 500 staff, generated more than €140m in revenue, and distributed its products in around 90 countries. The annual output of Sihl Group’s coated products would reach more than four times around the equator when laid end to end.

“Diatec Holding has supported our growth trajectory brilliantly over the past years, for which I sincerely thank the owner, Diego Mosna, on behalf of the entire Sihl Group,” said Peter Studer, CEO of the Sihl Group. “We now have Equistone, a capital-strong and experienced middle-market investor which has successfully partnered with and supported many companies through their continuing international growth, by our side for the next steps of the expansion.”

“With numerous outstanding and innovative products, the Sihl Group has established an excellent market position,” said Philippe Stüdi, partner at Equistone. ‘Together with the management we want to use this to promote international growth in the USA and Asian markets and to further expand the strong position in Europe. We are looking forward to continued collaboration with both the management and the staff of the Sihl Group.”

Equistone was advised by L.E.K. (Commercial), PwC (Financial & Tax), Lenz & Staehelin (Legal Switzerland), Chaote, Hall & Stewart (Legal US), Gide Loyrette Nouel (Legal France), De Angelis Rechtsanwälte (Legal Germany), ERM (Environment), and Willis (Insurance).

Equistone Partners Europe Ltd was established in 2011 as an independent investment firm following the buyout of Barclays Private Equity (BPE) by its executives, led by Guillaume Jacqueau, the firm’s managing partner. BPE, founded in 1979, was the private equity division of Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of Barclays plc. Equistone has a team of 35 investment professionals operating in Birmingham, Manchester, Munich, London, Paris and Zurich, investing as a strategic partner alongside management teams.

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