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EMC packages up another deal with the sale of Autobox Group to Kolbus

From left to right: Justin Edgar - DWF - Kolbus solicitors (UK), Kay Miles - DMH Stallard - Autobox solicitors, Abigail Owen - DMH Stallard - Autobox solicitors, Michael Pay - EMC - lead advisers to Autobox, Barry Taybor - Autobox Machinery Limited, Kai Buentemeyer - Kolbus GmbH & Co. KG, Robert Flather - Kolbus UK LImited, Patrick Kaffine - Gleiss Lutz - buy side solicitors (Germany)
2nd Oct

A leading British manufacturer of box-making equipment and former winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise has been sold in a deal advised on by EMC Corporate Finance.

The Autobox Group, its UK subsidiary, British Converting Solutions Ltd (BCS) based in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, and its other overseas subsidiaries, including in the US and Mexico, has been acquired by German headquartered Kolbus Group for an undisclosed price.

BCS-Autobox will become part of Kolbus’s corrugated technology division, which also operates a factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA.

Former majority shareholder Barry Tabor will continue to lead the company and its more than 50 members of staff as Managing Director.

He said: “The acquisition of the business by the Kolbus Group provides an exciting opportunity for BCS-Autobox to realise its full potential on a truly worldwide basis. Being part of the Kolbus Group gives us access to their International sales and service network.”

He added: “EMC’s Michael Pay and Nik Askaroff led the deal the whole way through, running a process that resulted in interest across the globe and I am delighted with the outcome. EMC’s experience in M&A shone through throughout the processs.”

For Kolbus, the acquisition completes the group’s re-orientation from industrial bookbinding systems, where it was world market leader, towards manufacturing equipment for specialist, paper-based rigid packaging.

Kai Büntemeyer, co-owner and Managing Director of Kolbus, said: “BCS-Autobox is a perfect match for Kolbus. While there is absolutely no overlap between the companies’ product ranges, BCS-Autobox fits perfectly between the highly specialised grey-board packaging technology from Kolbus-Germany and the rotary die-cutters made by our American Hycorr division.

“We expect BCS-Autobox to become our fastest-growing segment and our foot-print in the UK is set to continue to expand after this acquisition.”

Michael Pay of EMC added: “Working with Barry and the team at BCS has been both a privilege and a delight.  The plan was always to find a strategic buyer who could develop this world-class business further in a market that, with the increase in e-commerce, is only set to grow – Kolbus saw the opportunity and were a pleasure to deal with.

“With subsidiaries in different jurisdictions and an international buyer, the deal was by no means simple but the willingness of both parties to work together came through to deliver a great result all round.”

Kolbus was founded in 1775 and currently employs just over 1000 people. The group has operations in 12 countries. Its biggest business unit is the components manufacturing factory at Kolbus’ original site in Rahden, Westphalia, Germany, which includes an iron foundry.

The shareholders of Autobox were advised by EMC Corporate Finance (lead advisory), DMH Stallard (legal). Kolbus were advised by Gleiss Luz and DWF (legal) and Grant Thornton (FDD).

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