Plastic packaging industry experiencing solid M&A activity

M&AMerger and acquisition activity in the plastics industry and, in particular, in the plastic packaging segment, continued apace during the first half of 2018, as evidenced by some recent transactions by major players as well as an industry report.

The largest recent deal is the $6.8-billion all-stock purchase of Bemis Co. Inc. by Melbourne, Australia–based Amcor Ltd., which gives Amcor deeper access to the rigid-plastic packaging market in North America. Bemis is strong in the thermoforming segment for food and healthcare packaging, and rollstock sheet in CPET, APET, PP and HIPS. Find out more by reading, "A really big deal in plastics packaging: Amcor acquires Bemis to form New Amcor."

Also last week, Graham Partners (Philadelphia, PA) announced its third recent investment in the thermoformed packaging space with the acquisition of Nuconic Packaging LLC (Vernon, CA). This investment was completed less than a year after the acquisitions of Tray-Pak Corp. and EasyPak LLC. It's an attractive niche that is benefitting from increasing consumer demand for sustainable packaging options and freshly prepared, on-the-go meals, said Graham Partners.

Sonoco Products Co. (Hartsville, SC) completed its acquisition of Highland Packaging Solutions (Plant City, FL), a manufacturer of thermoformed packaging for fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs found in the fast-growing perimeter of retail supermarkets, said Sonoco in an April 12, 2018, announcement. Sonoco acquired the privately-held Highland Packaging for approximately $150 million in cash.

Previously owned by Steve Maxwell and John Durham, along with select members of the company’s leadership team, Highland grew from a regional supplier of agricultural packaging products into a global packaging company with 2017 net sales of approximately $90 million.

PLASTEC Minneapolis 2018 held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, part of the Midwest’s largest advanced design and manufacturing event that also includes MinnPack, brings you the latest in materials and additives, injection molding, rapid prototyping, coatings, automation, packaging and more. For details, visit PLASTEC Minneapolis.

Medical plastics, plastic packaging strong M&A performers 

According to a recent industry update on plastics and packaging for the first half of 2018 by Stout, advisors on M&A activity, medical plastics and plastic packaging M&A activity led the charge during that period, increasing 28% and 11% respectively. Highlights included an increase in tool and die (35%), thermoforming (15%) and machinery transactions (10%), which all increased year-over-year.