Posted on Thursday 19 May 2016 by Ulster Business

Huhtamaki buys delta print

Rosemary Mason, Managing Director Huhtamaki Foodservice Western Europe and UK, and Terry Cross OBE, founder of Delta Print and Packaging.

Belfast company Delta Print and Packaging has been bought by its Finnish rival for £80m, the new owners have revealed.

Huhtamaki, which already has plants in Lurgan and Lisburn, said the deal includes the firm’s Polish production plant as well as its assets in Belfast.

The existing management team will remain in place with founder Terry Cross continuing to work for the business as an advisor.

The new owner said the purchase will help it break into the folding carton business in Europe, an area in which Delta made its name with a customer list which includes household names such as KFC, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s and United Biscuits.

Started by Mr Cross in 1981, it has experience sharp growth since then and is considered one of the Northern Ireland economy’s success stories.

Huhtamaki previously bought its molded fiber plant – where it manufactures egg cartons and egg trays - in Lurgan in 1999 and has recently invested £4.9m at the site.

It specialises in food-to-go packaging such as cups, lids, plates, bowls and cutlery for some of the leading food and foodservice brands in the world.

Delta Founder Terry Cross OBE welcomed the new owners.

“Thirty five years on from our first transaction, now is the time for the company to take the next step in what has been, and what will continue to be, a very exciting journey for the company, our employees and our customers,” he said. “It is the innovation, dedication and hard work of our staff here in Belfast, and at our sister site in Poland, that has captured the attention of a global company such as Huhtamaki which is fantastic for a Northern Ireland company."

The existing management team will report to Rosemary Mason, Managing Director Huhtamaki Foodservice Western Europe and UK.

She praised the Delta staff.

“We recognise that the 290+ employees of Delta, and their experience, skills and knowledge of the industry, have been integral to the success the company has enjoyed over the last 30 years and we look forward to welcoming them on board and increasing the number of Huhtamaki employees in Northern Ireland.”

Law firm Tughans handled the legals on the deal.

“We are delighted to have worked alongside our long-term client Delta Print and Packaging to secure the purchase of its operations by global specialist food and drink packaging company Huhtamaki,” “John McGuckian, Corporate Partner, Tughans commented. “Local company Delta Print and Packaging has grown over the years, under the leadership of Terry Cross, into a highly successful manufacturing business with an enviable client list which includes many household brands.

“This coupled with the strength of its management team and skills of the employees attracted the attention of Huhtamaki, whose business strategy and values are a strong fit with Delta’s.

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