SWM and Neenah Paper Agree to Merge

    Photo: Mikael Damkier

    Neenah Paper and Schweitzer-Mauduit International (SWM) have agreed to merge, creating a specialty materials company with a combined $3 billion in sales. The new company does not have a name yet.

    The combined company would be headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA. Neenah President and CEO Julie Schertell will lead the new company while SWM CEO Jeff Kramer will take a role as a strategic advisor. Five SWM board members and four Neenah board members will make up the combined company’s board of directors.

    The two companies expect to trim at least $65 million from their operating costs over the next two to three years. It will do so through production synergies and “highly complementary technologies, geographies and product portfolios in specialty materials,” the companies said in a news release. The new company would have strong market share in growing categories like healthcare and wellness, protective and adhesive solutions, industrial solutions, packaging paper and specialty paper.

    “This merger is an exciting next step on our journey and one that will deliver significant shareholder value,” said Kramer. “The combination with Neenah is a continuation of our strategic intent to solve our customers’ most complex design challenges. We are excited by the numerous benefits of this merger, including the significantly broadened customer base, product lines and technical expertise.”

    “This combination is a unique opportunity to accelerate our growth strategy and continue the transformation of our business, creating a global leader in specialty materials with strong and defensible positions in attractive end markets,” said Schertell. “Merging our two companies enhances our ability to grow and solve the needs of our customers for demanding, innovative products that address global challenges, such as the necessity for clean water and air, sustainable alternatives, and enhanced health and wellness.”

    The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards but still must be approved by shareholders for both companies and regulators.

    Neenah was founded in 1873. It was acquired by Kimberly-Clark in 1902 and operated until Kimberly-Clark spun off its regular paper-making operations under the Neenah name in 2004. Schweitzer-Mauduit is also a former division of Kimberly-Clark that was spun off as an independent company in 2015.