Container makers attract buyers

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Consumer markets are growing all over the world, which is creating demand for packaging. This is a trend that is not lost on investors, particularly conglomerate Loews. Other strategic buyers, such as Berry Plastics and Silgan Holdings, are looking to expand their presence in plastic products across the food and beverage and household sectors.

Loews Corp. (NYSE: L) has been eyeing deals in the packaging sector and says the space will continue to see robust M&A. The New York-based buyer has agreed to purchase Consolidated Container Co. (CCC), a manufacturer of plastic packaging materials, for approximately $1.2 billion from Bain Capital Private Equity. As a result, Loews will form a new division called Loews Packaging Group. CCC makes rigid plastic products and also operates a recycled resin business called Envision Plastics. The target specializes in services for the household, food and nutritional pharmaceuticals, industrials, and beverage industries.

“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,” said Loews CEO James Tisch.

Loews provides commercial property and casualty insurance. The company’s 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 Loews Hotels & Co.

Berry Plastics Group Inc. (NYSE: BERY) has also been active in the packaging space. In 2017, the company bought rival AEP Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEPI) for $765 million in cash and stock. AEP, based in Montvale, New Jersey makes flexible plastic films for consumer, industrials and agricultural products. In 2015, Evansville, Indiana-based Berry Plastics purchased Avintiv from Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) for $2.45 billion.

In another strategic deal, Stamford, Connecticut-based packaging company Silgan Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: SLGN), acquired WestRock Company’s (NYSE: WRK) closures and dispensing systems business for about $1 billion. The target manufactures spray bottles, folding cartons, paperboards, kraft paper and tissue materials.

M&A in the packaging sector is poised to rise alongside consumer spending across the globe.

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