Lyreco is to buy Ahrend’s OP division for an undisclosed sum, in order to boost its performance in Germany and the Netherlands and increase its hold on Europe.
Lyreco CEO Eric Bigeard told OPI: "We have not acquired too much, being choosy and picky over targets, but Ahrend was the right company to acquire at the right time. This is the best company we could acquire in Europe at this stage. It reinforces us in two countries where we have been weaker than expected – Holland and Germany."
Despite the acquisition, he maintains that "we are still focused on organic growth but this was just too good an opportunity to turn down."
Pending approval from the relevant antitrust authorities, final completion of the acquisition is anticipated in the last quarter of this year.
Ahrend’s OP division has an annual turnover of more than €200 million ($245 million). Lyreco reported revenue of €1.6 billion in 2004.
Ahrend CEO Theo van der Raadt said: "The highly competitive market for office supplies increasingly demands extensive international presence. Acquisition by Lyreco provides the required economies of scale for Ahrend’s office products activities to remain successful in the future."
After completion of the transaction, Royal Ahrend will fully focus on the accelerated expansion of its office furniture division in the Netherlands as well as abroad.
Van der Raadt added: "There are excellent opportunities in all markets in which we operate. This division has already taken steps towards further internationalisation over the past few years."
(See ‘Going Dutch’, page 35)