Blue Star's local operations sold

Last updated 14:50 21/12/2012

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The New Zealand operations of trans-Tasman printing group Blue Star have been bought by Australian private equity group Mercury Capital and Blue Star shareholder and former manager Tom Sturgess.

Sturgess will be executive chairman of the firm.

The transaction will settle in January, the company said.

Debt-burdened Blue Star launched a sale process in July. The Australasian group was likely to be sold for between A$100 million and A$150m (NZ$125-$188m) depending on the capital structure, the Australian Financial Review reported at the time.

Blue star delisted its debt from the NZX in August, all but realising an almost total loss for bondholders of $137m.

Blue Star was a very good business with long term relationships with customers, a strong management team and highly committed and skilled employees, Mercury Capital chief executive of Clark Perkins said.

"Blue Star's balance sheet will be significantly strengthened following this sale and we look forward to investing in sound strategies for growth, and building market share in key markets”.

Blue Star Group Limited, the parent of Blue Star Group (New Zealand) Limited, announced an after tax loss of $16.5m for the year to June 2011.

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