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Goldman Sachs, Koch Industries partner to acquire Flint Group (updated)

8:08 AM MDT | April 10, 2014 | Robert Westervelt

Koch Industries and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs have agreed to acquire printing inks maker Flint Group (Luxembourg) from CVC Capital Partners (London). Flint is the second-largest global producer of printing inks after DIC (Tokyo). Flint revenues for 2013 were €2.2 billion ($2.9 billion). Terms of the sale were not disclosed but sources say the price was close to Flint's 2013 revenues, $2.9 billion, and that the equity contribution of both Goldman and Koch will be roughly equal.

The sale should be completed by the second half of 2014, Flint says. 

Goldman Sachs and Koch say in a statement they “will support the strategy developed by the Flint Group’s management team as it pursues a targeted business mix evolution towards the more attractive and higher growth printed packaging market while maintaining Flint Group’s strong position in the resilient print-media business.”

CVC acquired privately held Flint Ink (Ann Arbor, MI) in 2005 and merged it with XSYS Print Solutions (Stuttgart, Germany) to create the Flint Group. CVC formed XSYS in 2004 after acquiring the printing ink operations of BASF and ANI Printing Ink.

"Flint Group is uniquely positioned to capture growth in its attractive printed packaging markets while at the same time continuing to benefit from strong and resilient performance of its print media business," says Matthias Hieber, head of corporate equity investing in the German-speaking region for Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking, Goldman’s private equity arm. “With a significantly improved capital structure, Flint Group is best positioned to pursue its ambitious growth plans to further strengthen its market leading positions,” Hieber says.

“Partnering with top-tier firms like Goldman Sachs and investing in competitively advantaged businesses with high quality management teams is consistent with Koch’s investment strategy,” says Matt Flamini, president of Koch Equity Development, Koch’s corporate development arm. “We look forward to working with Goldman Sachs and Flint Group to assist the company in transitioning to its next phase of growth.”

Flint Group today operates 137 sites in 40 countries and employs 6,600. “The management team of Flint Group is excited about this planned new ownership, and the opportunities this now presents,” says Antoine Fady, CEO of Flint Group. “The investment by Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking and Koch is a clear vote of confidence in our vision, strategic plans, and ‘can do’ culture."

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