Highlander Partners Invests in Akomex, a Leading Polish Cardboard Packaging Manufacturer and Printer; Allocates over USD 50 Million for Subsequent Investments in Central Europe
November 24, 2010 – Warsaw, Poland – Highlander Partners, L.P., an American private equity firm, has finalized its purchase of a 53% stake in Akomex, a company based in Starogard Gdański, Poland. Akomex is a manufacturer and printer of cardboard packaging for the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and telecommunications industries. This is the first investment in Poland for Highlander, which has over USD 300 million at its disposal for investments in small- and medium-sized businesses. Akomex’s shareholders intend to relocate the Company’s manufacturing facility to the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone, double production capacity to meet the demand from new customers and expand Akomex’s workforce. Following this investment, Highlander is focused on seeking other medium-sized family-owned Polish businesses that would benefit from access to additional capital and Highlander’s operating expertise. Highlander has allocated over USD 50 million for future investments in Central Europe.”Just as in the US, Highlander Partners’ focus in Poland is on investments in well-developed manufacturing and services companies. The size of individual investments for Central Europe is usually between USD 5 and 20 million. Our preferred industry sectors are food, basic manufacturing, value-added services, construction materials and healthcare,” says Dawid Walendowski, Managing Partner at Highlander Partners in Warsaw, Poland.
Unlike the majority of private equity funds, Highlander Partners has its own capital rather than institutional funds, which provides for more flexibility on structuring transactions and a longer-term approach to investments. “Our investments are mainly focused on small- and medium-sized private companies with proven market success which are run by seasoned managers who lack capital for further dynamic development,” says Dawid Walendowski. Since its launch in 2004, Highlander Partners has executed numerous transactions in the healthcare services, food ingredients, basic manufacturing, and value-added services in the US, and is bringing its successful long-term investment strategy to Central Europe. “Since we are using our own proprietary capital for investments, long-term business development prospects are more important for us than short-term profits because we don’t work under the pressure of time restraints or investment horizon risk which the owners of capital impose on other private equity funds,” says Walendowski.
Akomex will invest over PLN 20 million in the next several months as it movesto a newer and larger manufacturing facility in the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone, builds new technical facilities, modernizes the Company’s machinery, and doubles its production capacity. In addition, the Company intends to hire several dozen employees in the Starogard Gdański area, where unemployment is currently at 19%.
Akomex manufactures printed cardboard packaging for food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, footwear and other industries. For several years Akomex has experienced a growth rate over 20%, outperforming comparable packaging companies, and is expected to continue its tremendous growth in the future with Highlander’s backing. “We wanted to increase our competitive advantage, hence we decided on a private equity firm which, aside from its capital, will bring its operating experience to facilitate the company’s improvement in business performance and help the Company further penetrate food, manufacturing, telecommunications and other industries,” says Sebastian Śliwa, CEO of Akomex Sp. z o.o. “We are excited about the growth potential for this investment. Packaging plays a critical role in product differentiation at the point of sale for the Company’s customers and they are interested in high quality products and security of supply, which are the key attributes of Akomex’s business strategy. We are expecting significant growth in the future and are investing in the Company’s expansion of production equipment and upgrade of the operating infrastructure, which will improve the Company’s asset utilization and better position Akomex for the future,” says Dawid Walendowski, managing partner at Highlander Partners. Akomex exports its products to many Western European countries, as well as the Baltic states, Russia, and the Balkans. The firm is currently exploring potential add-on opportunities and has a robust pipeline of new projects expected to be initiated over the course of 2011.
Key investment contact:
Managing Partner, Central Europe
Highlander Partners, L.P.
plac Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 3
00-078 Warszawa, Poland
tel +48 22 449 00 12
fax +48 22 449 00 01