Japan Paper set to become Australia's biggest merchant

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Japan Pulp & Paper will extend its reach into the Australasian paper market with a majority stake in a business formed by the merger of BJ Ball and family-owned KW Doggett Fine Paper.

The deal - which sees BJ Ball Australia acquire 100 per cent of BJ Ball NZ and KW Doggett, with JPP taking a 51 per cent share of the merged business, subject to ACCC approval - was formally approved by JPP board members yesterday.

The merger will create the largest paper merchanting business in Australia, overtaking Spicers.

It is understood that second-generation members of the Doggett family - six of whom still work in the 42-year-old business - will continue to be active in the reorganised business, while providing the opportunity for founders Ken and John Doggett to retire. K.W. Doggett Properties and associate company Ken Ardcowan Pty Ltd will have almost 20 per cent of the new business

The two BJ Ball businesses belong to private equity company Maui Capital through PagePack, which bought the former CPI Paper business in Australia in 2011, as well as the smaller Raleigh Paper and Focus paper operations.

Established in 1845, the Nikkei-listed Japan Pulp & Paper moved into the New Zealand market four years ago with the acquisition of the pulp and paper operations of forest products manufacturer Carter Holt Harvey.

JPP senior vice president and general manager for corporate planning Mitsutoshi Imamura says the company has set July 2017 as a tentative date for the final share transfers.

Pictured: BJ Ball's Brisbane location (top) and the KW Doggett head office in Melbourne

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