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Accelerating demand drives Sustana acquisition

Old cardboard containers (OCC) collected for recycling.

Sustana operates two 100% recycled fiber mills. | Kenishirotie/Shutterstock

Recycled fiber packaging producer Sustana Group has been acquired by a New York investment firm, which cited rising public interest in sustainability as a factor in the purchase.

Blackstone Tactical Opportunities on Dec. 1 announced its acquisition of De Pere, Wis.-headquartered Sustana, which operates paper mills in De Pere and Breakeyville, Quebec.

“The increasing focus on environmental sustainability by businesses and consumers alike is one of Blackstone’s highest conviction investment themes – and we are proud to back Sustana, a fast-growing leader in this sector,” said Andrea Serra, managing director at Blackstone, in a release.

Sustana has been particularly active in expanding recovery of fiber-based foodservice products.

The company has made a push for greater paper cup recovery, using the fiber from cups to offset declines in generation of office paper and old newsprint. And earlier this year, Sustana announced a supply agreement with a Canadian MRF operator to source cartons for fiber recovery, as a way to fill the pandemic-driven shortage of office paper feedstock.

Between the company’s two 100% recycled fiber mills, it has a capacity to produce 255,000 short tons of air-dried pulp per year, the company told Resource Recycling. The company uses that pulp to produce packaging suitable for food contact, including paper cups, cartons, food wraps, containers and more.

Blackstone Tactical Opportunities acquired Sustana from H.I.G. Capital, an investment firm. H.I.G. created Sustana after acquiring the Breakeyville assets from fiber giant Cascades, and acquiring the De Pere mill, which was formerly owned by Fox River Fiber. The investment firm joined the mills under the Sustana name. H.I.G. also issued a release announcing its sale.

In announcing the acquisition, Sustana CEO Fabian De Armas said the investment positions the mill operator for future growth.

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