Sale Signals New Direction for Mail-Well

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Mail-Well Inc. has sold its label-making division, a move aimed at rededicating the company to its core businesses of commercial printing and envelopes, Mail-Well announced yesterday.

Entrepreneur Gregory Mosher and equity firm Arsenal Capital bought the label-making division, formerly known as Mail-Well Label. It will operate under the name Renaissance Mark.

Though Mail-Well would not disclose the value of the sale at the buyer's request, the company said the deal would reduce its debt load and give it more freedom to grow its remaining businesses. The company sees the greatest growth potential in its commercial printing and envelope segments, said Michel Salbaing, chief financial officer for Mail-Well, Englewood, CO.

Mail-Well's commercial printing and envelope divisions, which depend on ad-spending dollars for revenue, have suffered in the current economy, contributing to the company's sales falling $22 million in fourth-quarter 2001. The label division, which mainly served the food and beverage industry, has thrived relatively.

However, with annual revenue of about $800 million each, the commercial printing and envelope divisions are built up enough so that they should be better able to handle business growth, Salbaing said. Though the label division has weathered the recent economy better, its revenue is only about $220 million a year.

"It's much easier to grow two businesses that add up to $1.6 billion than it is one business that adds up to $220 million," he said. "We can't grow everything. We had to make choices."

The label division includes 12 facilities in North America and three in the United Kingdom with a total of 1,500 employees. The new owners appear committed to the continued growth of the business, Salbaing said.

Mail-Well plans to divest itself of several business segments, including its office products division and one small operation each in the commercial printing and envelope divisions. In February, Mail-Well sold Curtis 1000, one of the two elements of its office products division, for $40 million.

Mail-Well has signed a letter of intent to sell the rest of its office-products business, and the commercial printing and envelope operations it plans to sell are under negotiation, Salbaing said. The company expects to generate $300 million with the sale of these assets, and revenue from the sale of the label division is in line with that estimate.

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