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Thetford packaging firm sold

PUBLISHED: 07:49 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:15 07 July 2010

A plastic packaging firm based in Thetford has been sold by its Australian owners to a private investment group, it emerged last night.

Camvac, which has a 114-strong workforce and annual sales of £20m, has been bought by the Midlands-based GIL Investments for an undisclosed sum.

A PLASTIC packaging firm based in Thetford has been sold by its Australian owners to a private investment group.

Camvac, which has a 114-strong workforce and annual sales of £20m, has been bought by the Midlands-based GIL Investments for an undisclosed sum.

GIL pledged to take a "long view" of Camvac's future and work alongside the existing management.

Camvac, based in Burrell Way, specialises in producing plastic film for packaging and had been part of the Australian Amcor group of companies.

GIL was founded by the entrepreneur David Grove in 1991 and has a track record of acquiring businesses in deals worth between £10m and £100m - and has another packaging firm, Total Polyfilm, in its portfolio.

Mr Grove, GIL chairman, said: "Despite the credit crunch, we are still open

for business and our

purchase of Camvac demonstrates this.

"The business is profitable, with high manufacturing standards, an excellent customer base and a real understanding of customers' needs. It also has what

we believe to be an unparalleled expertise in metallised and laminate film technology.

"As investors, we believe that we can add value through encouraging, supporting and working alongside the existing management.

"Our track record is one of being willing to take a much longer view than many private equity investors and contributing much more than just the finance.

"In the case of Camvac, we will provide input on a range of corporate and strategic needs of the business in the months and years ahead."

Mr Grove added that Camvac would continue to be run by the current management team.

Camvac managing director Steve Isherwood said: "New ownership has given us the certainty we are looking for and we will have the commitment and finance we need for further product development.

"We will be well placed to build on the platform that

we have built so far. With

the support of GIL, we

look forward to an exciting future focusing on our customers' needs and bringing high performance products to meet the changing requirements and opportunities within the markets we serve."

GIL's portfolio also includes Bearmach, the world's largest independent supplier of Land Rover spares.

Mr Grove said there were still deals to be done despite the economic climate.

"The commercial drivers for large companies to sell non-core businesses to concentrate on core activities and for private shareholders to move on their businesses to new ownership are still there," he said.

"It is true that bank debt facilities can be more difficult for buyers to obtain on the right terms but if you can source the finance, and if the commercial case is there, there are deals to be done at a fair price.

"Our own pipeline of potential business purchases continues to be strong."

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