The new company, headed by the existing management team, will be exclusively focused on the development and production of speciality films. Trading will continue under the Surface Specialties UCB name for a period of time.
The acquisition is expected to be completed in September 2004.
The €362 million turnover business, previously called UCB Films, is a leading global producer of speciality Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) and cellulose (Cellophane) films with production sites in the UK, USA, Belgium and Australia.
It holds a leading global position in the markets for labels and security films, coated packaging, overwrap and biodegradable and compostable films, employing some 1,600 people worldwide.
"This is a strong business with good long-term growth potential, said Candover director Julian Delano. "It holds leading positions in its chosen key markets and has a diverse customer base."
The sale is in line with UCB's strategy highlighted recently by the acquisition of the UK-based biotech company Celltech.
"We are pleased that the investors behind the purchase of this business realise the long-term potential it offers and the market opportunities which exist for a well-invested, well-managed and highly targeted films business," said Georges Jacobs, chairman of the executive committee of the UCB Group.
"It will be 'business as usual' for the time being, however we are looking forward to exciting future developments."
The European market for plastics used in food and beverage packaging is an industry to watch out for. A survey by US consultancy Frost & Sullivan suggests total sales will have risen from €3.92 billion in 2000 to €5.71 billion in 2007, equivalent to an annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent.
Principal growth engines for the market include the rising sales of convenience foods and ready meals, as well as advances in electronics and biotechnology that will lie at the heart of this new packaging.