APPLETON – Appvion’s sale to a group of lenders led by Franklin Advisers, Inc. has been completed. The company also named paper industry veteran George W. Wurtz III as its new president, chief executive officer and board chairman.
The sale price was approximately $365 million, plus the assumption of substantial liabilities, including many of Appvion’s contractual obligations. The deal was approved in mid-May by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
The transaction significantly reduces Appvion’s debt, provides additional liquidity and better positions the company to compete long-term in the evolving specialty paper market and further invest in the innovation that has made it a market leader.
Prior to the closing of the transaction, Appvion reached an agreement with the United Steelworkers Union on new collective bargaining agreements for Appvion’s manufacturing facilities in Appleton; West Carrollton, Ohio; and Roaring Spring, Penn. The new three-year agreements cover approximately 830 Appvion employees.
The company’s new leader, Wurtz, served as a member of Appvion’s board of directors for nearly seven years and replaces previous CEO Kevin Gilligan. Jim Tyrone, who served as a senior vice president at Appvion from 2010 to 2012, has been named senior vice president of sales and marketing. These appointments are effective immediately.
“This is a period of great opportunity for Appvion, as we have completed our sale and are positioned more strongly than ever,” Wurtz said in a statement. “I look forward to working together with the leadership team, our talented employees, our valued suppliers, and our new owners to serve our customers and build this company’s future.”