The Watermill Group announced November 9 that it has acquired the Alsip manufacturing facility of the Madison Paper Company from Myllykoski Group. Watermill Group has renamed the newly acquired paper manufacturer FutureMark Paper Company in alignment with the company’s intent to cater to the fast-growing, underserved North American market for environmentally friendly paper. FutureMark Paper Company has the only manufacturing facility in the United States capable of producing up to 100 percent recycled coated paper for magazines and catalogs.
Located just outside Chicago, in the heart of the U.S. print market, FutureMark Paper Company’s innovative manufacturing plant was designed and equipped to produce high-quality paper in the most environmentally sustainable way. The facility’s sustainable manufacturing practices and superior paper products – made with the highest percentage of recycled fiber available anywhere in the world – are attractive to magazine publishers, catalog companies and the growing number of other organizations interested in printing on environmental-grade paper. In addition to the traditional #5 coated paper, a new premium #4 grade and food label products have been recently introduced. All products are made from recovered fiber and have been very well received by the market.
“We were drawn to this paper manufacturer for its green technology and its ability to offer a one-of-a-kind product in an otherwise commoditized market,” said Steven Karol, founder and managing partner of The Watermill Group. “We believe FutureMark Paper Company is well positioned and well capitalized to make tremendous gains in the emerging market for environmentally friendly paper. We’re pleased to add FutureMark Paper Company to our investment portfolio.”
The Watermill Group brings strong assets to FutureMark Paper, including new management, an infusion of marketing expertise and capital investments to expand capacity. The new company will be led by newly appointed President and CEO Stephen Silver, an experienced chief executive with a successful track record of leading companies through marketing transformations that result in dramatically improved sales and profits. Most recently Mr. Silver drove the successful turnaround of office furniture manufacturer Teknion LLC. Prior to that, he held leadership positions in the printing and paper industry including president and CEO of Azon Corporation and North American president of International Paper’s Ilford Photo business. FutureMark Paper intends to retain the Alsip workforce and key senior management including Steven C. Smith, vice president and plant manager and Brendan Lesch, VP of sales and marketing.
“The management team at FutureMark Paper Company sees a very promising future in North America for environmental-grade paper,” said Steve Silver, FutureMark’s new chief executive officer. “Our existing customers can expect a seamless transition and count on FutureMark to provide the same high-quality products and service for which Alsip is known. At the same time, we believe we can also attract the growing number of magazine, catalog and Sunday insert publishers who wish to use paper with a high percentage of recycled content – not just because it’s good for the environment, but because it’s also good for business. We’re looking forward to partnering with these companies to accelerate the market shift toward recycled magazine-grade papers.”
About The Watermill Group
For nearly three decades, The Watermill Group has been acquiring and improving companies. By providing the resources and expertise to drive strategic and operating change, Watermill helps companies reach their true potential as thriving businesses capable of supporting jobs and contributing to their local communities. Watermill partners have over 140 years of combined executive management experience with extensive expertise in a wide variety of industries. The firm focuses on investing in companies where there is the opportunity to enhance performance through strategic change, operating improvements, or balance sheet realignments.
About FutureMark Paper Company
FutureMark Paper Company is an environmental paper manufacturer that produces high-quality paper with an unmatched level of recycled content. As the only company in North America capable of manufacturing up to 100 percent recycled coated mechanical printing paper, FutureMark Paper is committed to helping its customers achieve their environmental objectives without compromising on paper quality or performance. By delivering the future standard for environmental-grade paper today, FutureMark Paper is aggressively growing its position as the preferred paper partner for North America’s sustainability leaders.