KNP BT, parent company of Info' Products, is abandoning its packaging division to focus efforts entirely on its PC business.
The Dutch-based company announced the split on 12 February, and will invest proceeds from the division's sale into its PC and office supplies side. If a trade buyer cannot be found, the current organisation will be demerged and floated on the Dutch stock exchange as two separate companies.
The move will also mark the end of KNP BT's head office and supervisory board.
Patrick Delleede, senior staff officer of corporate communications at KNP BT, said the packaging arm accounted for between 15 and 20 per cent of the company's sales for 1997, and about 35 per cent of its net operating profit. He added that it had 10 candidates who were 'willing and able' to buy the packaging side of the business.
Howard Dickel, director of business development at Info' Products UK, confirmed that the reseller cannot continue with the diversity of two branches and needs to concentrate on one discipline. He said: 'There has been some concern over the company's focus, and it was decided to separate the two divisions and invest more in the distribution side. The packaging is not as dynamic or fast growing.'
He added that there are a number of acquisitions Info' Products wanted to add to its list. This is despite the reseller failing to meet its 1997 financial targets after last year's buyout of UK reseller Simmons Magee (PC Dealer, 11 February). Delleede said any long-term plans for Info' Products expansion would most likely rest in the continent and not in the UK.
Shares for KNP BT, Europe's largest paper merchandiser, went up after the split announcement, suggesting shareholder and market pressure.
The move follows the sale of the company's Leykam paper production division to South Africa's Sappi, and unsuccessful talks to merge KNP BT's trading arm with Dutch Hagemeyer in December last year.
The same month saw announcements of executive departures from the board, including chairman, Frank de Wit, and group finance director, Rob Bonnier.
After the split, the remaining operation will trade as Buhrmann-Tetterode.
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