Leading international law firm Mayer Brown is advising WEPA Papierfabrik P. Krengel GmbH & Co. KG, Arnsberg, on the acquisition of its Italian competitor Kartogroup S.p.A., Carraia/Capannori. WEPA plans to acquire Kartogroup including its subsidiaries in France and Germany via Italian insolvency proceeding. The agreements were signed by the parties on 1 August 2008. An application has been filed with the competent court in Lucca (Italy) to institute proceedings, which are expected to commence in September. Advising WEPA is an integrated team consisting of the law firm Mayer Brown LLP, its Italian alliance partner, Tonucci & Partners, and Ernst & Young Legal, Italy.
WEPA initially plans to lease the operations of the Kartogroup companies in Italy, France and Germany for two to three years, and then acquire the business following approval by the creditors' meeting. This course of action is based on "Concordato Preventivo", a special type of insolvency proceeding in Italy, which has only existed in its present form since 2006. To date, Concordato Preventivo has been applied in only a few precedential cases in Italy. This will be the first application in a cross-border transaction as a primary insolvency proceeding under the European Insolvency Regulation.
The family-owned WEPA Group produces tissue products such as sanitary paper, toilet and kitchen rolls, paper handkerchiefs and wipes. In 2007, the Group generated revenues of approximately EUR 450 million. At its sites in Italy, France, Spain and Germany, Kartogroup produces toilet rolls and paper towels, paper handkerchiefs, facial tissue and napkins. Kartogroup has approximately 1,300 employees. Its revenues in 2007 were approximately EUR 470 million. Driving the transaction is the increasing concentration in the sales market and growing competitive pressure from multinational tissue manufacturers such as SCA, Kimberly-Clark and Georgia-Pacific.
Mayer Brown: Friedrich Merz (Corporate, Berlin), Dr. Marco Wilhelm (Corporate, Insolvency, Frankfurt), Dr. Christofer Eggers (Antitrust, Frankfurt); Associates: Dr. Hendrik Otto (Corporate, Berlin), Christiane Grasser (Banking & Finance), Dr. Sven Labudda, Axel Lebherz (both Corporate), Dr. Astrid Pönicke (Tax), Daniel Wiedmann (Antitrust, all Frankfurt), Dr. Marius Boewe (Environmental Law, Köln), Benoit De Monval, Eléna Puiu (both Corporate, Paris).
Tonucci & Partners: Marco Nicolini (Corporate), Nicola Romano (Insolvency, both Rome); Associates: Francesco Fiore (Corporate, Milan), Piergiorgio Della Porta (Insolvency, Rome).
Ernst & Young Legal: Francesco Marotta, Vera Sacchi (both Insolvency, Milan).
Studio Lombardi Molinari e Associati: Giuseppe Lombardi, Johannes Karner (both M&A and Restructuring, Milan).
Studio Legale Matera: Corrado Matera (Rome).
Studio Legale Iacomini: Giovanni Iacomini (Lucca).