Blue Star may shed more assets after offloading NZ labels business

Tom Sturgess, who is executive chairman of Tiri Group, was controlling shareholder and managing director of Blue Star when it sold to the private equity fund for NZ$385 million.

Blue Star announced yesterday afternoon it had reached “a conditional agreement” that is expected to complete in early July, with proceeds going “to reduce bank debt and help strengthen its financial position”.

Sturgess, who had remained as a minority shareholder until resigning from the Blue Star board in January, could not be reached for comment.

The announcement follows yesterday’s news that Blue Star was “conducting a review of the group’s operations, focusing on a potential sale of all, or parts, of the business”.

Bower told ProPrint this morning that Blue Star remained open-minded about selling other parts of its business to acquisitive companies.

The Rapid Labels deal followed an unsolicited approach from Tiri Group about six months ago, he said.

Bower added it would bolster the “strong” financial position Blue Star disclosed in its half-yearly figures when it reported revenue of NZ$280 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of NZ$20.7 million.

“The operating earnings of the business are very, very strong,” he said.

Bower told ProPrint that Blue Star was like most companies in that it used debt to fund growth. He said the aim was not to pay off the debt but keep it at a manageable level.

Click here to read about the ups and downs of Blue Star.

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