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Klöckner owner works on financial realignment

By Michael Lauzon, Plastics News
Posted 14 March 2012

Klöckner Pentaplast’s owner Blackstone Group is discussing financial realignment, but the film and sheet major won’t confirm a Bloomberg report that Oaktree Capital Management is also involved in the discussions.

“KP confirms that, over the course of the last several weeks, it has been supporting lender discussions and has enabled them to move forward in a constructive manner in order to realign the company’s balance sheet and financing structure in a consensual manger to provide the group with a stronger foundation,” KP said in an e-mailed statement.

Bloomberg reported 12 March that Blackstone and Oaktree are working toward a restructuring that will leave the two investors with a majority stake in the company. The report added that KP will need to put itself up for sale if an agreement cannot be reached by March 21. Bloomberg attributed its story to unnamed, well-placed sources. Blackstone and Oaktree did not respond to inquiries of the deal.

Late last year KP said Blackstone was evaluating whether to realign the film and sheet company’s balance sheet following a downward credit rating by Standard & Poor’s from CCC+ to CCC-.

KP spokeswoman Nancy Ryan said at the time — and reiterated in a March 13 email — that Blackstone’s efforts were independent from her firm’s solid operational performance and do not affect its daily business. Standard & Poor’ said in late November that KP holding company Kleopatra Lux of Luxembourg had a highly leveraged capital structure that it viewed as unsustainable.

KP is a leader in film and sheet for pharmaceutical, medical, food, electronics, thermoforming, printing and specialties.

“KP’s controlling shareholders (advised by affiliates of the Blackstone Group LP) are fully supportive of the management team and the business,” Ryan said in a recent e-mail. “The group has a strong liquidity position with plenty of cash available to support solid continuing operations for customers and suppliers. The KP group is well positioned within its key international markets as has been confirmed by external ratings agencies and independent external consultants.”

“KP recognizes the current discussions regarding realigning KP’s balance sheet and financing structure as being constructive and offering an opportunity to further strengthen its financial and capital structure during these challenging economic times.”

Bloomberg reported that Oaktree, the Bank of Ireland and the lending arm of General Electric have proposed to take over the plastic films producer in a deal that will reduce KP’s borrowings to less than €500m, down from about €1.2bn. The deal would wipe out claims of junior creditors owed about €350m. Oaktree would agree to sell some its equity to Blackstone, leaving both firms as controlling shareholders.

Blackstone is based in New York. Oaktree is in Los Angeles.


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