Maillis wraps up an Italian acquisition

Packaging company M.J. Maillis yesterday announced its fifth acquisition of the year as it took over the assets and brand name of an Italian thermo-shrinking machine manufacturer for an undisclosed sum. Michael J. Maillis, chief executive, said the purchase of the assets and brand name of FAI Srl would make the company a global leader in the thermo-shrinking machine market. It would also complement the production range of its Milan-based subsidiary Gramegna and also lead to economies of scale. FAI Srl has annual sales of 8 million euros. It also exports to other European countries and to North America. Maillis set foot in Italy two years ago with the takeover of Siat Spa, a manufacturer of carton sealing, stretch wrapping and tape-printing machines, as well as its two subsidiaries, and Columbia, a maker of strapping tools. Last year, it further strengthened its position in Italy with the acquisition of majority stakes in two companies, a move which expanded its range of packaging machines. Maillis’s acquisition spree this year has been modest compared with close to 10 takeovers in 2000. In just two years, the company has built up or expanded manufacturing units in Spain, the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Finland, Austria and most of the Eastern European countries, making it the global leader in the carton-sealing machine market and a dominant position in wrapping machines and strapping equipment. Maillis has adopted a more selective acquisition strategy this year due to the uncertain economic environment. Despite a more prudent approach, early this year it strengthened its war chest for acquisitions by taking out a 130-million-euro syndicated loan. As a result of the string of purchases in the last few years, the company now realizes 97 percent of its sales outside Greece. Consolidated turnover in the first half of the year increased by 16 percent to 147.5 million euros. Maillis’s shares closed unchanged at 5.14 euros yesterday. Since the beginning of the year, the stock has managed to maintain its equilibrium, losing only 2.28 percent of its value compared with the 30 percent slide in the benchmark share index.