Johnson Matthey buys DS Smith's StePac modified atmosphere packaging biz for £18m

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Johnson Matthey has acquired the StePac modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) business from DS Smith for Pound 18 million. The transaction, which includes all assets of StePac, is an important step in the development of Johnson Matthey’s atmosphere control technologies business, which is part of the new businesses division.

StePac, which employs around 90 people, is a leading provider of modified atmosphere packaging which works closely with growers and distributors of fresh produce to develop, manufacture and supply application-specific products. The business is commercially active in over 60 countries and has manufacturing facilities in Israel and the US. In the year ended April 30, 2014, StePac had sales of around Pound 15 million.

Atmosphere control technologies for shelf life extension in the fresh produce supply chain is one of Johnson Matthey’s new business areas where there is an attractive market for the development of advanced packaging solutions that can prolong life and thereby reduce food waste.

The acquisition of StePac complements Johnson Matthey’s expertise in functional materials extremely well, bringing post-harvest expertise and IP in the area of polymer-based MAP products. In addition, StePac has an established network of relationships across the fresh produce supply chain which will inform future technology and product development.

These provide a strong platform of complementary technical skills and market access to enable Johnson Matthey to accelerate the selection, development and commercialisation of new technologies. The company expects its atmosphere control technologies business to deliver sales of around Pound 20 million in 2015/16 and, after taking account of integration costs, the business should make a small operating profit in the year.

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