(Adds detail, company comment)
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 5 (Reuters) - South Africa's Sappi has agreed to buy a speciality paper unit from Switzerland-based Cham Paper Group for 146.5 million Swiss francs ($149 million), the company said on Tuesday.
Sappi expects the deal to be concluded in the first three months of 2018, and said the business, which produces coated speciality papers, includes two mills in Italy and a digital imaging business in Switzerland.
The Johannesburg-based company is one of the world's leading pulp and paper producers, but is pushing deeper into higher value speciality products.
"(The acquisition) will further Sappi's diversification strategy by adding capacity and complementing products to the current speciality and packaging product portfolio and providing a platform for future growth," Sappi said in a statement.
The to-be-acquired unit produces paper used in industrial and consumer goods and digital imaging, Sappi said.
"Following the divestment of the paper business, Cham Paper Group will focus on its real estate business," the Swiss company said in a separate statement.
$1 = 0.9846 Swiss francs Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sunil Nair