Owens-Illinois Inc. agreed to buy a Vitro SAB unit that makes glass containers for food and beverages for $2.15 billion to expand in the growing market for food packaging in Mexico.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Perrysburg, Ohio-based Owens- Illinois said in a statement today.

Competition for food-packaging industry assets is intensifying following a string of deals such as Rock-Tenn Co.’s agreement in January to acquire MeadWestvaco Corp. in a deal valued at about $9.2 billion to create the world’s second- largest packaging company. In Europe, French company Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA is selling its glass packaging unit Verallia.

Vitro disclosed the possible sale of the food-and-drink business in August last year, saying a potential buyer is already conducting due diligence and negotiating a price.

“This transaction marks an important strategic step,” said Owens-Illinois Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Al Stroucken. “Vitro’s leading position, long-term customer relationships and proven record of innovation and new product development will enable us to capitalize on commercial opportunities in Mexico.”

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