Mason Wells’ acquires performance packaging division of Appleton Papers

Will form new, stand-alone firm with Appleton Paper division, management

Mason Wells, a Milwaukee-based private equity firm, will acquire the performance packing division of Appleton Papers Inc. for about $58 million. With the purchase of Appleton’s assets, which is expected to close later this month, Mason Wells will create NEX Performance Films Inc.
“We’re creating a stand-alone entity with the assets from Appleton,” said Greg Myers, managing director with Mason Wells. “NEX is a new entity that we created to buy the performance packaging division (of Appleton) with its existing management and existing business.”
Appleton’s performance packaging division is comprised of two divisions – American Plastics Co. Inc. in Rhinelander and New England Extrusion Inc., which has facilities in Milton and Turners Falls, Mass. The company has 150 to 160 workers, Myers said, all of which are being retained in the purchase.
NEX Performance Films will fit in well with several of Mason Wells’ other holdings in the consumer packaging industry, Myers said.
“They have good technology and are in attractive markets like food and health care,” he said. “They have a long-standing reputation and we think they are well positioned to continue to grow.”
Myers said Mason Wells will expand NEX Performance Films’ capacity in the coming months, and, over time, the private equity firm may also make add-on acquisitions to bolster the new company.
Appleton is selling is plastics packaging division to focus on its specialty paper and Encapsys microencapsulation businesses, said Mark Richards, Appleton’s CEO.
“Our core strengths in specialty paper production and microencapsulation have been the foundation of our company’s success for more than a century, and they will be the focus of our growth strategy in the future,” he said.

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