Loews enters packaging sector, buys plastics manufacturer Consolidated Container

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Loews Corp. (NYSE: L) is buying Consolidated Container Co. (CCC), a manufacturer of plastic packaging materials, for approximately $1.2 billion from Bain Capital Private Equity. As a result of the acquisition, Loews will form a new division called Loews Packaging Group.

CCC is a maker of rigid plastic packaging products in North America, and also operates a recycled resin business called Envision Plastics. The target specializes in mid- and short-run packaging services for a variety of industry verticals including: household chemicals, food and nutritional pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and beverage and juice. The target’s customers include Turkey Hill, Kemps, Tree Ripe and Ortho. CCC has 57 rigid plastic packaging manufacturing facilities and two recycled resins manufacturing posts.

Loews, through its three subsidiaries, provides commercial property and casualty insurance. The buyer, headquartered in New York, will fund the transaction with approximately 50 percent in cash-on-hand and 50 percent debt. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017. Loews’ three subsidiaries include CAN Financial Corp. (NYSE: CAN), Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (NYSE: DO) and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP (NYSE: BWP). The buyer also operates one wholly owned subsidiary Loews Hotels & Co.

"We have been analyzing the packaging industry for some time because it fits our key acquisition criteria: It is a fragmented industry that generates strong cash flows and we believe it is unlikely to be subject to major technological disruption," states James Tisch, CEO of Loews. Tisch touts CCC's management team as reasons for an "outstanding' platform company poised for growth organically and through acquisitions.

Bain Capital is a Boston-based private equity firm that has made more than 270 investments since its inception in 1984. The firm invests in industries, including: consumer and retail, financial services, business services, healthcare, industrials, and technology media and telecommunications. In January, the PE firm backed retail marketer Daymon Worldwide and also announced plans to purchase memory foam maker Innocor from Sun Capital in December 2016.

Packaging M&A has been holding strong lately, largely driven by companies looking to expand into new markets. Relevant deals include: Resource Label Group LLC’s acquisition of packaging service provider Gintzler International; CVC Capital Partners’ purchase of bottle packaging company Anchor Glass Container Corp. from KPS Capital Partners L.P.; Berry Plastics Group Inc. (NYSE: BERY) agreed to buy AEP Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEPI), a maker of flexible plastic films used to package consumer goods, for $765 million in cash and stock; Novolex, backed by Wind Point Partners, purchased Heritage Bag Company; Packaging Corp. of America (NYSE: PKG) said it will purchase TimBar Corp.; and Platinum Equity's agreement to acquire the foam plastics and flow control devices divisions from Broadway Industrial Group.

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