Industrial Opportunity Partners acquires Midwest Paper

Midwest Paper

By Ken McEntee

Private equity firm Industrial Opportunity Partners (IOP) has acquired Midwest Recycled and Coated Containerboard Mill LLC (Midwest Paper), a recycled containerboard mill headquartered in Combined Locks, Wisc.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Midwest Paper manufactures and distributes various grades of paper including about 400,000 tons per year of recycled containerboard (medium and linerboard) for corrugated packaging, recycled bag products and white paper for book publishing and printing/writing applications.

Dave Mackin, an IOP operating principal, will assume the position of chairman of Midwest Paper. Mackin is a member of IOP’s Board of Operating Principals, which is comprised of experienced executives who provide leadership to the businesses in which IOP invests.

“We look forward to partnering with the Midwest Paper management team in continuing to enhance the company’s production capabilities with a focus on delivering high levels of customer service and quality,” Mackin said.

Midwest Paper emerged from the former Appleton Coated paper mill, which was shut down and went into bankruptcy in September 2017. It was purchased by Industrial Assets Corp., of Los Angeles, and Maynards Industries USA, of Detroit, and reopened. By July 2018 all three machines, including two that were converted to recycled containerboard production, were running 24/7, according to company spokesman John Corrigal.

“We are excited to partner with the Midwest Paper team,” said Kyle Hood, director of IOP. “We believe that Midwest Paper has a strong position in the market and an excellent reputation with its customers.”

Mike Deprey, vice president of Midwest Paper, said, “The Midwest Paper management team and I are looking forward to our partnership with IOP. We believe IOP’s operations-focused approach will assist us in optimizing all aspects of our business to support continued growth and better serve our customers.”

IOP, an Evanston, Ill.-based private equity firm with $910 million of committed capital since inception, said it is dedicated to creating value through investing in manufacturing and value-added distribution businesses with revenue between $30 million and $400 million. Midwest Paper represents the fourth platform investment for IOP’s third fund, Industrial Opportunity Partners III L.P. The transaction’s senior debt financing was provided by JP Morgan Chase Bank and Chemical Bank with subordinated debt financing provided by Yukon Partners.

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