Papering the way to a global future

Loan facilities from Intesa Sanpaolo’s internationalisation office assisted Lucca-based tissue manufacturer Celtex acquire a German firm. The move has enabled it to expand its international profile, says Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith

13/12/2016

They have been making paper in north-eastern Tuscany for more than 700 years, therefore it is no surprise to find that this corner of Italy boasts a ‘Tissue Valley’.

Lucca-based Celtex has only been around for 30 of those years, but it has still managed to incorporate the history and tradition of the area into a modern, technologically-advanced business.

The tissue market is a complicated one in which global giants such as Kimberly-Clark, SCA and Procter & Gamble have competed with national champions, private labels and niche operators. Celtex has survived, and thrived, by developing cutting-edge technology and providing a high-quality service. It produces wipers, napkins and hand-towels for public facilities, industry, hotels and restaurants (Away from Home sector).

In 2014, sales were around €100m with exports accounting for more than 60 per cent of the total, mainly to EU states.  It also has a plant in Saint-Dizier in France.

The company realised that the best way to consolidate its leading role was through continued innovation and expansion into new markets.

Photo: Andrea Bernacchi, CEO of Industria Celtex SPA

It was therefore an ideal candidate for the services of Intesa Sanpaolo’s internationalisation office. The company had been a client of the Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia e della Lucchesia, a Tuscan subsidiary of the group, for some time.

Intesa Sanpaolo played an important part in Celtex’s expansion, exemplified in the acquisition, in November 2015, of Hecatec, a Germany company with around €40m sales. With management it conducted a detailed analysis of the potential strategic value of the target and its production facilities in Poland and near Leipzig, Germany.

The view was that it would complete and enhance Celtex’s product portfolio, not least because of Hecatec’s specialisation in medical tissues. It was also seen as providing an important platform for expansion. The deal made financial sense, too: by producing more in Germany and Poland, Celtex could reduce its energy costs and make logistics more efficient.

After deciding to go ahead, Intesa Sanpaolo’s medium-term financing specialist Mediocredito Italiano drew up a strategy based on its ‘International’ credit line. It was a flexible lending facility which took into account the country where the investment was to be made and involved a series of expert assessments of the markets to be supplied.

The German group has been active in the North European market for more than two decades under the Temca, Profix, Racon, Temdex and Clivia brands. Collaboration between Celtex and Hecatec dates back some 20 years.

As a result of the acquisition, Celtex increases its sales, completes its product range and gains a significant opening into the German and East European markets. Celtex’s chief executive Andrea Bernacchi highlighted the importance of the close relationship with the banking partner.

“The acquisition was sustained by Medicredito Italiano’s International financing and was only possible because of the long and fruitful partnerships with both Hecatec and the Intesa Sanpaolo group,” he says.

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