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Announced today, the merger of the two will create one of Europe's top 2-3 processors of rigid plastics packaging, and its largest injection molder of packaging. The acquisition, which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, is priced at £204.7 million ($319.7 million), making it one of the largest plastics packaging deals of 2010.

Matt Defosse

December 16, 2010

2 Min Read
Plastics packaging match-up as RPC acquires Superfos

The acquisition is expected to be completed at or around the end of January 2011. 
 According to this report from Dow Jones, Swedish private equity firms Ratos AB, which owns 33% of Superfos, will take a loss of 70 million Swedish kronor ($10.3 million) on the sale. The remaining share of Superfos are owned by another Swedish equity firm, IK Investment Partners AB; the two acquired the processor in 1999 and since then have invested almost $70 million in it.

According to the Dow Jones article, during the 11 years Ratos has owned Superfos, it has generated an average annual return of about 2%. Ratos has an average annual return target of above 20% for all of its investments. Superfos had an EBITDA of €52.3 million on sales of €294.5 million for the year to Dec. 31 2009. The company is the largest European packaging processor that only uses injection molding. The largest European packaging processor, Austria's Alpla, is primarily a blowmolder but also injection molds. Superfos (Taastrup, Denmark) injection molds packaging for food products, as well as pails and buckets for non-food packaging. It has nine processing facilities across Europe and employs more than 1300.

The buyer, RPC Group Plc, is a publicly listed company, and in fact its shares jumped more than 11% in the hours following the announcement. RPC employs almost 6000 at 40 facilities across Europe and at one in the U.S. It runs injection molding, thermoforming and blow molding operations.  Its reported FY 2010 turnover was down a bit from 2009's,to £720 million, due to lower sales volume, but profitability climbed by15% to £40.9 million. Almost 60% of its sales are into the food packaging sector. During its FY 2010 it closed processing in England, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and in Italy, and also closed distribution satellite locations in Poland and Romania. Headcount was reduced by 14%. It also is closing its thermoforming facility in Goor, the Netherlands.

According to a statement from Hans Pettersson 
president at CEO at 
Superfos, both companies will maintain their decentralized approach to dealing with customers. In a note to customers he added, "You will find that the people you work with, and the products and services that you enjoy, will be unchanged as a result of the acquisition."

The merger of the two makes for a rigid plastics packaging processor with a footprint extending across the entire continent. In the Nordic countries, where Superfos is especially present RPC has no processing facility, whereas RPC has 12 sites in the U.K. and Superfos just one there. With the purchase, RPC also gains a rapid toehold in some of the continent's fastest-growing markets including Poland, Turkey and also in North Africa.

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