Abris invests in the Pehart group of companies, the leading independent tissue paper producer in Southeast Europe

Bucharest, 12th of May 2015. Abris Capital Partners, a leading mid-market private equity fund for Central and Eastern Europe, is investing in the Pehart group of companies creating the leading independent producer of tissue paper in Romania and Southeastern Europe. The transaction awaits clearance from the Romanian anti-monopoly authorities.

Set up by Mr. Ioan Tecar, the Pehart group of companies has three production facilities where it produces tissue paper and finished goods (toilet paper, kitchen towels and napkins) under its own brands - Pufina and Alint. The group also produce private label products for several retailing groups. Following Abris’ investment, in combination with a contribution of Romanian State aid, a fourth production facility will be opened by the end of this year, so increasing the total group production capacity of tissue paper jumbo rolls to approximately 100 thousand tonnes per annum. The company currently exports most of its production to customers in Central and Southeastern Europe.

As part of the transaction, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development („EBRD”), currently a shareholder in one of the group companies (Pehart Tec SA), will entirely exit its stake. In 2009, the EBRD  became a shareholder of Pehart Tec SA and injected capital to support the company's drive to increase its production of tissue products by offering a high-quality alternative to more expensive imports.

 

Ioan Tecar, who will continue to serve as President of Pehart group, expects the new partnership to strengthen the Company’s position in its market:

“We are glad to attract foreign investment to Transylvania, and have Abris Capital as a new partner. Together with Abris, and with their strong backing, we will be able to develop and promote local production, improve our managerial competencies and consolidate our market position. We made these investments with the objective of taking the tissue paper business to a new level of development and, following the commissioning of the upcoming 4th production line, we will reach an annual tissue paper capacity of over 100 thousand tons, thus becoming the largest independent player in the region. I would also take the opportunity to thank and express my appreciation for the EBRD’s support over the last 6 years during which we have developed and modernized Pehart Tec SA; as a result of this cooperation, we have managed to build the Pufina brand to be one of the strongest brands on the market.”

 

Cezar Scarlat, Partner, Head of Abris Capital Partners Romania:

“We were impressed by Mr. Tecar’s entrepreneurial ability to build a significant modern tissue paper producer, sometimes under very difficult circumstances. Being confident in Mr. Tecar and the perspectives of the tissue sector in general, we believe the company has underlying advantages and a unique opportunity to serve the fast growing number of retail customers in Romania and the region. We are confident Pehart group will become the strongest regional player.

The investment in Pehart group, where Mr. Tecar continues to be a significant shareholder, is an important milestone in our path to becoming the leading private equity firm in Romania and the region. This most recent investment is, once again, a clear example of our commitment to support and partner through our collaborative approach with local entrepreneurs across a variety of sectors, both locally and regionally.”

 

Frederic Lucenet, Director, Manufacturing and Services, EBRD:

“We are pleased to have successfully co-operated with Mr. Tecar in the development of Pehart Tec and delivering the actions we set out to do at the time of investment. Since the EBRD invested, the Company has improved its production processes, it has built up its own brand, Pufina, which is now present in almost all the supermarket chains, and a new management team and management systems have been put in place with significant improvement in financial performance.

We are satisfied that EBRD has fulfilled its role and are confident that the company is now well positioned to enter a new development cycle at the end of which it shall become a leading regional player.”