MBO for Settle paper packaging business

One of John Roberts’ loaded trailers

Long established Settle-based business John Roberts Holdings has completed a Management Buyout (MBO) for an undisclosed sum, supported by a team of Yorkshire advisers and funders.

With a track record of supplying a wide range of paper-based packaging materials, John Roberts Paper & Packaging is one of only a few UK companies offering the combination of both converted paper products and corrugated. The business has a focus on supplying environmentally-friendly paper packaging products, including corrugated sheetboard, pads and rolls, in a wide range of grades and formats.

The company has grown to a turnover of over £13m and employs 62 staff at its Settle head office and mill.

Paul Nelson, chairman of John Roberts Holdings, and Jeremy Smith, financial director, have sold their shares in the business to Scott Littlewood, formerly operations director who takes on the role of managing director, and Claire Beresford, commercial director.

The Yorkshire advisers to John Roberts included a multi-discipline team from Leeds law firm Clarion, led by Kaira Clarehugh (corporate) and Andrew Curtis (banking); and Chris Dale, Alex Baskeyfield and Harry Radburn of Mazars. The MBO was part funded by HSBC with a team led by Scott Wood, advised by Duncan Firman of Gordons.

Paul Nelson, chairman of John Roberts Holdings, said: “The MBO is another important landmark in the future of John Roberts. We are very proud of the business we have built up, our loyal customer base and hardworking team. Settle born and bred, Scott has progressed from machine operative to operations director over the last nine years, and so he knows the business inside out. Claire also has a twenty-seven year track record in the paper industry and, together, they make a strong team.

“Jeremy and I are happy to lend our experience and to provide support for the foreseeable future and we are pleased to be placing the business in such experienced and capable hands. It was very important that as we step back, the employment the business provides in the area is secure, and that the company continues to put customers at the heart of its operations.”

Scott Littlewood said: “This is an exciting move for Claire and I as we take forward a well-established and successful business to the next stage of its development. While it will very much be a story of continuity for our customers and employees, we will also be looking for new opportunities for paper packaging such as supporting the rise of our ecommerce operations.”

Kaira Clarehugh of Clarion said: “It’s great to see a flourishing Yorkshire business continuing with an experienced and ambitious team at the helm, they have a bright future ahead.”

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