U.S. Can Giant Buys British Rival
U.S.-based Ball Corp. has agreed to buy British rival Rexam PLC in a $6.85 billion deal that, if approved by government regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, would create the world’s largest manufacturer of aluminum beverage cans.
Together the companies account for 60 percent of North America’s beverage can supply; 69 percent in Europe and 74 percent in Brazil. Globally, Ball and Rexam each control slightly more than a fifth of the total market.
Ball Corp., based in Broomfield, Colorado, released a statement that said the deal would result in synergies of $300 million by 2018 and that it expected to get necessary regulatory approvals sometime in the first half of next year. The largest manufacturer of beverage cans in North America, Ball was founded in 1880 as a manufacturer of glass food storage jars, currently operates a dozen production plants scattered across Europe in close proximity to its customer centers in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland and Serbia.
The Rexam buy isn’t the first for Ball which has recently pegged its strategy to dominate market share through a spate of big-ticket acquisitions: in 2002, the company acquired Schmalbach-Lubeca AG, the German-based metal beverage container company, rebranding the company as Ball Packaging Europe. Four year later, the company bought U.S. Can Inc., the largest U.S. manufacturer of aerosol cans and in 2010 it paid $293 million for Aerocan S.A.S., the France-based maker of aluminum aerosol cans and bottles. More recently, Ball acquired two of Sonoco Products Co.’s metal end and closure facilities; the Canton, Ohio plants produce multiple-sized closures for the food can market.
London-headquartered Rexam, the leading beverage can maker in both Europe and South America, counts Coca-Cola Co and Anheuser-Busch InBev as two of its largest customers. The company generated $5.9 billion in revenues in 2013 and employs more than 8,000 people.
In addition to 14 can plants and two can-end plants in the U.S., Rexam operates manufacturing plants in Mexico, India, Egypt and Turkey, 18 can-making and four can-end production plants in Europe and joint venture manufacturing operations in Guatemala and South Korea.