PARAGON Print and Packaging, a leading supplier of packaging and labelling for the UK food sector, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by private equity group Sun European Partners.

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Lincolnshire-based Paragon, which has 10 manufacturing sites around the UK at locations including Thetford and Wisbech and employs more than 1,200 people, was previously owned by mid-market private equity investor Equistone Partners Europe and co-investor LDC.

Paragon provides labels, sleeves, cartons, films and lined boards to a number of the UK’s major food retailers, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, and food manufacturers such as Bernard Matthews, Cranswick, Greencore and Vion.

Equistone, which exited four other investments during 2012, has owned Paragon for around five years, during which time the business has increased its turnover from £113million to £171million, through organic growth, acquisitions and new partnerships.

Its period of ownership has also included a transition to new leadership, with Mark Lapping taking over in 2010 from Paragon’s founder, Tony Lennon, who continued to support the management team in a consultancy role.

Equistone director Andrew Murtagh said: “We are extremely pleased to have been able to work alongside Paragon’s exceptional management team.

“Together we have ensured that, despite a challenging economic backdrop, the company has performed strongly through a measured acquisition strategy and consistent organic growth. We wish Mark Lapping and his team every continued success as they progress into the next stage of the company’s growth.”

Mr Lapping, chief executive of Paragon Print & Packaging, said: “Equistone has provided a tremendous amount of support during its investment period and we are delighted with the company’s performance to date, as well as our prime positioning in the market place.

“Andrew Murtagh and Paul Harper at Equistone have supported Paragon through a particularly exciting period of change, allowing us to diversify our offering both in terms of product and services to customers.

“The company is in a good position to continue its growth under Sun European Partners’ ownership.”

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