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International Paper Signs Agreement to Acquire a Majority Share of Leading Moroccan Corrugated Packaging Company

Press release from the issuing company

STAMFORD, Conn. and BRUSSELS, Belgium, Sept. 16 -- International Paper today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire a majority share of Compagnie Marocaine des Cartons et des Papiers (CMCP), a leading Moroccan corrugated packaging company. Under the terms of the planned investment, IP will acquire approximately 65 percent of CMCP, for approximately $80 million cash plus assumed debt of approximately $40 million. Completion of the transaction is subject to normal closing conditions and is anticipated before the end of 2005. "CMCP fits well with International Paper's strategy to grow our corrugated box business globally, and will further strengthen our position in the fruit and vegetable segment, where we are already a European leader. Additionally, the investment in CMCP will offer IP an attractive opportunity to increase shipments of Kraft linerboard to Morocco," said Tom Kadien, president of International Paper Europe. Following completion of the transaction, CMCP will become part of International Paper's European Container business. "Morocco is an attractive market for International Paper's packaging business," said Paul Brown, vice president of International Paper's European Container business. "The country has a rapidly growing economy with low inflation and recently signed free-trade agreements with the European Union and the United States." Both, International Paper and CMCP remain dedicated to providing top quality products, excellent services and superior value-added solutions to their customers. CMCP, based in Casablanca, Morocco, has 1,500 employees and operates four box plants and one recycled containerboard mill in Morocco. CMCP produces corrugated packaging materials for the industrial and agricultural markets. International Paper's European Container business has 3,200 employees and operates 25 box plants and 2 corrugated containerboard mills in France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and through a joint venture in Turkey.