Italian group Fedrigoni, a leading producer of high-end specialty papers for luxury packaging and high-end labelling, has inked two new strategic deals: an industrial partnership with a specialty paper mill in China and the acquisition of an R&D Centre in Grenoble, France. Both operations were formerly part of the Arjowiggins Group.

The first transaction is aimed at strengthening its presence in the Asian market. It consists in a manufacturing partnership with a specialty paper mill, producer of translucent papers (sold under the brands Gateway, Idem and Sylvicta) for applications ranging from industrial design and graphic applications to packaging for food, consumer electronics and luxury products.

Located in Quzhou, Zhejiang province, China, the company employs 130 staffs with an annual production capacity of 7,000 tonnes. As part of the deal, Fedrigoni has provided a loan to an acquisition vehicle, set up by two former Arjowiggins senior executives, in consideration for a call option giving Fedrigoni the option to take over the company in the longer term.

Besides strengthening its geographical footprint in Asia, this transaction will lead Fedrigoni to further expand its product portfolio in the translucent papers segment by acquiring manufacturing capabilities, which has the potential to increasingly replace plastic in packaging as a fully recyclable material.

The second operation is a further step to reinforce the group’s research, development, and innovation capabilities in the RFID, printed electronics, and advanced research on paper substrates. It is expected to allow Fedrigoni to boost its product innovation roadmap in RFID, printed electronics, and advanced research on paper substrates.

Thanks to this deal Fedrigoni will also boost its innovation capability in the field of alternative pulp-based materials, benefiting from the relationships with the existing ecosystem, particularly in the Grenoble area, with entities such as the International Paper Engineering School Grenoble INP - PAGORA and the Pulp and Paper Research & Technical Centre (CTP).

The two operations come on the heels of recent acquisitions – Guarro Casas in Spain (formerly part of Arjowiggins Group), Papeterie Zuber Rieder in France – aiming at consolidating Fedrigoni’s position as a global player in specialty papers after the acquisitions of, and the industrial partnership.