West Belfast packaging company sells for £80m

Privately-owned Delta taken over by Finnish group, Huhtamaki

Rosemary Mason, managing director Huhtamaki Foodservice Western Europe and UK with   Terry Cross, founder of Delta Print and Packaging

Rosemary Mason, managing director Huhtamaki Foodservice Western Europe and UK with Terry Cross, founder of Delta Print and Packaging

 

The Finnish packaging giant Huhtamaki has acquired Delta Print and Packaging, a privately owned company in the North, in an £80 million (€104m) deal.

Based in west Belfast, Delta Print, which was set up in 1981 by Belfast entrepreneur and current company chairman Terry Cross, is one of the North’s top locally-owned businesses.

Employing 300 people in Belfast and Poland, Delta specialises in bespoke printed folding carton packaging for some of the world’s largest food service brands including McDonald’s, Tesco, KFC, Kellogg’s and United Biscuits.

In its release to the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange on Thursday afternoon Huhtamaki said its acquisition of Delta would enable it to “enter the folding carton packaging business in Europe”.

The group said the debt-free purchase price was £80 million and Delta’s net sales in 2016 are expected to be in the region of €70 million.

Management

The Northern Ireland business will become part of Huhtamaki’s Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania division and Delta’s existing management team is expected to remain unchanged.

The Finnish group has also said that Mr Cross will remain as a “senior adviser” to help Huhtamaki “build its folding carton packaging business further”.

Mr Cross established the firm 35 years ago above a corner grocery story in Belfast to “manufacture business cards, letter headed paper and local civil service forms”.

Huhtamaki is no stranger to the North, already controlling two operations in Northern Ireland which employ more than 200 people.

It has a well established moulded fibre plant in Lurgan, Co Armagh which manufactures cup carriers, egg cartons and egg trays and a paper recycling unit in Lisburn, Co Antrim.