Wausau to Sell its Specialty Paper Business

Newly named Expera division is being purchased by KPS Capital Partners.

May 22, 2013
Recycling Today Staff

Wisconsin-based Wausau Paper has signed a definitive agreement to sell its specialty paper business to a new company backed by the private equity firm KPS Capital Partners L.P. The new company will be known as Expera Specialty Solutions LLC.

“This transaction accomplishes all of our key objectives: divesting our paper business in a way that creates value for our shareholders, creating a specialty business under new ownership with the scale and product breadth to compete globally and narrowing our focus to accelerating growth in our tissue business,” says Hank Newell, president and CEO of Wausau Paper.

KPS also entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Thilmany specialty paper business of Packaging Dynamics Corp., which operates paper mills in De Pere and Kaukauna, Wis. Expera will combine the Thilmany business with Wausau Paper’s specialty paper business to become a manufacturer of specialty paper products for the food packaging, industrial and pressure-sensitive release liner segments.

Under the deal, Expera will acquire the assets of Wausau Paper’s Rhinelander and Mosinee mills in Wisconsin. The mills produce specialty industrial papers, tape papers, release liner and papers used in niche food packaging applications. The assets of Wausau’s Brainerd, Minn., mill are not included in the transaction. When the deal is complete Wausau Paper will not hold any equity ownership in Expera.

Completion of the transactions is expected to occur simultaneously during the second or third quarter of 2013, subject to closing conditions.