Inapa: The only listed European paper merchant

Inapa is one of Europe’s largest paper merchants, with a keen focus on packaging and visual communication. Amassing annual sales of €1bn, the company is set to grow in both sales and operational results


Inapa’s roots go back to 1965 when it was incorporated as a paper producer. The company was the first large-scale paper mill in Portugal and remained a paper producer until February 2000 when, after selling its industrial assets, it decided to focus on the paper merchanting business, which started in 1978. Inapa then became an international player and expanded its business to complementary areas, such as graphic and office supplies, packaging and visual communication (viscom).

Focusing on growth potential
Since 2007, Inapa has been able to reposition itself as a global paper service provider. The group is present in the traditional paper business through the distribution of paper to the graphic and office sectors, besides providing a set of additional related products and services, such as graphic and office supplies, logistics and factoring.

Inapa is listed on the Lisbon Stock Exchange and presents a stable shareholder structure, with Parpública and Millennium BCP holding 51 percent of capital and a free-float of 49 percent. In the European paper merchant market, Inapa is one of the key players alongside Antalis, Paperlinx and Papyrus, but is the only listed company of the sector in Europe. As the European paper markets are already at a mature stage, Inapa decided to diversify, investing more effort and resources in the complementary businesses with growth potential and better contribution margins: packaging and viscom.

Its packaging business, which represents 10 percent of the group’s EBIT, has strong growth potential and relevant logistic synergies. Inapa’s strategy aims to increase the weight of that business in the markets where the group is present.

Viscom business accounts for seven percent of the group’s EBIT. Inapa’s main market is Germany, where it is the fourth-largest player. This business segment includes printed materials such as banners, canvas, vinyl and paper, but also inks, supplies, large format printers, software and respective technical support. Viscom is expected to present a significant growth rate due to the recent technological changes, which substancially improved productivity, the quality of printing and the innovation on printing substrates and new concepts of communication.

Creating a paper empire
Currently Inapa is operating in seven European countries: Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as Angola, but new opportunities for investment are constantly being studied. In all of the markets where Inapa is operating, the group is among the top three local players. Even though Inapa was founded in Portugal, a major contribution to the company’s results comes from operations in other European countries, especially Germany and France, which account for more than 75 percent of consolidated sales.

The German market is the one where Inapa already has the three business areas (paper, packaging and viscom) working at full speed. In the paper business Inapa operates through Papier Union and has a leading position with a market share of approximately 20 percent, also providing logistic and factoring services to its customers. Inapa France is the second-largest player in the French market, having leadership in the office paper segment. The company ensures full coverage of the country from the two logistics bases near Paris and five other agencies throughout the country, counting a daily average of 55 trucks engaged in its activity. Since 2008 the group has also been supplying packaging products throughout its subsidiary Carton Service, and has a leading position in catalogue and internet sales. In Spain, Inapa is still enjoying the positive synergies derived from the acquisition of EBIX, carried out in 2010. As expected, and as a consequence of this acquisition, Inapa has managed to strengthen its market share and is now the third-largest player in the Spanish market. Inapa Switzerland is the result of the merger of three paper merchants, initially acquired by Inapa France. The company presents a market share of approximately 20 percent, being one of the top three players in the market. Inapa has introduced innovation to this market with the introduction of an online platform to serve the office segment.

In Portugal, Inapa is the market leader with more than 50 percent of the market share in the paper merchanting business. Besides the paper business, in 2010, Inapa Portugal began selling packaging products and is confident of the success this new business line may achieve in the Portuguese market. In Belgium and Luxembourg, Inapa is focused on the office segment, being the merchant market leader in that area. Angola is the group’s latest market entry and the first outside of Europe. Inapa was the first paper merchant with a permanent establishment in Luanda and was able to differentiate itself from competition, as it is the only player that offers a wide range of quality papers in accordance to European standards.

The paper chase
In order to maintain Inapa’s strong growth in an aggressive market environment it has developed a strategic plan based on five levers. They are as follows:

– Consolidation of the paper business market position: In the last three years Inapa made acquisitions in France and Spain to consolidate its position and create value through the economies of scale. Inapa plans to continue its consolidation through strategic assets acquisition, strengthening of own brand weight in the portfolio, optimisation of procurement and establishment of partnerships in near markets with growth potential.
– Increase the growth pace of complementary businesses: During 2011 Inapa incorporated a holding to own and coordinate its packaging business in different markets and is building a dedicated structure for the management of this business.
– Operational efficiency: Although already prepared for growth, a second wave of          efficiency was launched, through which Inapa will continue to explore new cost reduction opportunities including the optimisation of its business model and go-to-market approach.
– Capital structure optimisation: Inapa has managed to strengthen its financial structure as it carried out a capital increase during the last quarter of last year and has renegotiated the securitisation in good conditions.
– Achieve a Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) of 12 percent: The group is carrying out an optimisation of its fund management, through the reduction of working capital levels and selectivity on its investments, searching whenever is necessary for alternative funding sources.

Beating the recession
Last year was a challenging time for the sector and for Inapa itself. However, several events took place and have provided additional motivation for the Inapa Group, since they propose good prospects for its future. These included its strategic partnership with Heidelberg for the sale of Saphira consumables, providing Inapa’s customers with the option of buying products from the comprehensive Saphira portfolio.

Also in 2011, and despite the fact 2011 was a difficult year in capital markets, Inapa successfully increased its capital by €54m.

Another event was the recognition of Inapa’s book “Galaxi book”, which shows the portfolio of the own brand Galaxi for the graphic segment, as the winner in the category “Printer of the Year” from the German Druck & Meridien Awards. Inapa Tecno, another own brand for the office segment, completed its tenth anniversary with an increase of its contribution for the group market share and results.

Inapa has also been awarded for Best Corporate Governance in Portugal – 2011 by World Finance, which according to the Inapa Group’s CEO, José Morgado, was “very important, since it represented the recognition of transparency of the company’s communication and the adoption of the best practices of corporate governance, which should give Inapa a larger projection and recognition in the international markets”. Winning again in 2012 has recognised the continuous effort made by the group in its governance restructure, since 2007.

Further information –, email:, tel: +351 213 823 007