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Roundup of packaging acquisitions

It's been an active time period for acquisitions in the packaging industry. Here's a couple key developments: Global plastic packaging company Coveris has made another move on the acquisition front. The company has acquired UK flexible packaging provider Learoyd Packaging. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

has made another move on the acquisition front. The company has acquired UK flexible packaging provider Learoyd Packaging. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Established in 1976, the Burnley-based business, initially supplied paper and plastic bags to the textiles industry, before focusing its strategy on the fast-moving food packaging market to achieve sales in excess of £20 million ($26.3 million) in 2013. Coveris states that the strategic acquisition of Learoyd will support and strengthen its UK flexible packaging offering through advanced processes and technologies in addition to providing access to new customer and product markets.

Mark Lapping, president of Coveris' UK food & consumer business, said: "Learoyd has built an enviable market reputation for flexible packaging through its innovative culture, focus on best practice and strong management team. Through our aligned capabilities in flexographic print, Coveris' investment in Learoyd will offer our customers greater access to first-class technology and an extensive knowledge base."

Allan Ferguson, managing director of Learoyd Packaging, said: "Over recent years, we have invested in the long-term growth of the company, to develop a state of the art facility with extensive design capabilities as well as training and development for our staff. The backing of Coveris will enable us to deliver accelerated growth in a market which offers considerable expansion and cross-selling opportunities both in the UK and internationally."

Private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners will acquire Berlin Packaging, a supplier of rigid packaging products and services in North America, from Investcorp. Oak Hill is investing in partnership with Berlin Packaging's current management team, led by chairman and CEO Andrew Berlin. The transaction is valued at $1.43 billion.

Tyler Wolfram, managing partner at Oak Hill, said: "Berlin Packaging is a high-caliber business experiencing double-digit growth and targeting a large addressable market opportunity. We are excited to partner with Andrew Berlin and his talented team to support the company through its next phase of growth, as the company expands organically and through strategic acquisitions. The transaction is representative of Oak Hill's theme-based investment approach and long history of partnering with world-class entrepreneurs and management teams."

Andrew Berlin commented, "We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Oak Hill. Oak Hill has a longstanding history of building superior businesses and a reputation for strong partnership with management. It was important to join with a firm that shares the same culture and belief system as Berlin Packaging and that is committed to growing our company by offering increased value to our customers, suppliers, and employees. I know Oak Hill will be a tremendous partner for us. We would also like to thank Investcorp for their partnership over the last seven years."

The transaction, which is subject to HSR approval and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.

Sonoco, one of the largest diversified global packaging companies, will acquire Weidenhammer Packaging Group, the European provider of composite cans along with composite drums and rigid plastic containers, for €286 million, or approximately $383 million, in cash. The final consideration is subject to a normal adjustment of net working capital.

Weidenhammer Packaging, headquartered in Hockenheim, Germany, has approximately 1,100 employees and operates 13 production facilities, including five in Germany, along with individual plants in Belgium, France, Greece, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Chile and Russia. In addition to producing composite cans, drums and luxury tubes, Weidenhammer produces unique rigid plastic containers using thin-walled injection molding technology with modern in-mold labeling. Markets served by the company include processed foods, powdered beverages, tobacco, confectionery, personal care, pet food, pharmaceuticals and home and garden products.

According to CEO Ralf Weidenhammer, "Sonoco and Weidenhammer bring 175 years of combined consumer packaging innovation and expertise to our combined customers. After almost 60 years of successful business operations, we are convinced that the merger with Sonoco will open up new opportunities for our business, our customers and partners, as well as to our employees."

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