ECONOMY

Packaging firm Maillis mulls foreign flotation, bond issue

Packaging company M.J. Maillis said yesterday it was considering issuing a bond or floating the company abroad next year as it seeks alternative forms of financing for the next round of acquisitions. In just two years, the company has taken over some 25 to 30 firms and plans to continue its buying spree, Chief Executive Officer Michalis Maillis told reporters yesterday. The aggressive expansion drive has given the company a presence across the continent, with manufacturing units in Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany, Poland and Romania. Affiliates are found in Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Austria, France, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Spain. The acquisitions also contributed to an annual 70-percent growth rate for the company in the last five years. While Maillis has about 20 billion drachmas in hand – the remainder of a 50-billion-drachma share capital increase completed last year – it plans to fill its coffers through other channels, including a foreign listing and the launch of a bond issue, the CEO said. Maillis’s subsidiary in Romania listed on the Bucharest stock exchange last December, the first foreign venture to do so. The prospective bond issue will be the second time that Maillis is resorting to the bond market. In 1997, it took out a bond which was subsequently converted to a syndicated loan. The next round of acquisitions will be marked by a change in focus, Maillis said. The company will now focus on the resulting synergies and compatibility when making acquisitions, he said. The new strategy started with the takeover of the UK’s United Packaging last month and marked a break from the previous tactic of focusing principally on the acquired company’s financial background. Maillis has also set targets of 130 billion drachmas in consolidated sales, a 20-percent increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) and a 15-percent rise in pretax profit next year. Such goals appear feasible, said Intersec analyst Christina Vitzilaiou. With product prices expected to go up, Maillis should be able to improve its performance, she pointed out.