Dermot Smurfit invests €1m in Irish paper business months after MBO

Sunday Independent, 18th October 2015

Dr. Dermot Smurfit has invested €1m in Irish paper distribution company GPMI, formerly known as PaperlinX. The former deputy chairman of Smurfit Kappa, brother of Michael Smurfit and father to gambling entrepreneur Dermot junior and actress Victoria, is taking a 49pc stake in GPMI as part of the transaction. The business has a turnover of €32m and employs 40 staff in the Republic and 12 in Northern Ireland. The Irish unit was bought from its Australian parent this year by its management after the UK division of the same group had gone into administration.

The investment will allow it to expand and seek acquisitions. Managing director and majority shareholder Enda Brophy said the industry was now ripe for consolidation.

“Customers will welcome this news, as it strengthens the level of competition in the market” says Brophy. “The higher-margin graphic materials business, representing approximately 40pc of Group turnover, has seen strong growth, which is expected to continue.” “GPMI will target growth opportunities in the industry and expects to increase its share of the paper market through acquisitions and consolidation opportunities. Recent years have seen limited activity in the sector.” Smurfit brings vast experience and understanding of the sector to the business, Brophy added. Smurfit is also chairman and a significant shareholder in Powerflute, the AIM listed packaging business. GPMI also added a new board member, Stephen Mason.

Blackthorn Capital (formerly Origin Corporate Finance) advised GPMI on the equity investment.