US billionaire buys £80m cartons firm

An American billionaire is buying the company that uses Leeds's former Waddingtons factory.

Beverley Hills-based Platinum Equity, whose chairman and CEO is mega-rich Tom Gores, has bought Nampak Cartons.

The firm is based at Cockburn Fields in Beeston. Platinum Equity is also buying the Nampak Cartons plants in Gilligham, Kent, and Hoogerheide in The Netherlands. Nampak Cartons Europe is based in South Africa.

Nampak Healthcare is also being bought.

The cost of the deal is believed to be 80 million – worth 65 million after pension liabilities are taken into account.

A spokesman for Nampak said: "The reason behind this change in ownership is that Nampak, Africa's largest packaging company, has recently embarked on a strategy of growing and investing in what it believes to be its core business for the future.

"As a result of this strategic review there have already been some divestitures in South Africa and the sale of these two businesses in Europe is a further progression of that strategy."

Asked about the impact on jobs in Leeds, the spokesman said: "It is envisaged that the management teams and staff of Nampak Cartons and

Healthcare will move with the businesses which will be rebranded as part of the change in ownership."

Platinum Equity owns businesses covering many fields of industry, including logistics, chemicals, telecommunications, IT, print media and steel services.

Tom Gores was born in Israel to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother and left the country headed for the USA in 1968.

He founded private equity investment firm Platinum Equity in 1995. He is said to be worth $2.2bn and is on the Forbes list of the Richest Americans.

He is also on the Forbes list of 2010 billionaires.

The businesses which have been sold were taken on by Nampak in 2002 when they were acquired as part of a takeover of Malbak Limited.

Cyber crime: ‘We’re all targets’