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Swiss packaging manufacturer SIG acquired by Canadian private equity firm

Toronto-based Onex Corp. has announced that it is paying up to €3.75 billion ($4.66 billion) to buy out the Swiss carton packaging maker SIG Combibloc Group AG. The amount of €3.575 billion ($4.44 billion) will be paid at the closing of the transaction, with an additional amount of up to €175 million ($217 million) payable based on the financial performance of SIG in 2015 and 2016.

News of the acquisition does not come as a complete surprise: since 2007, SIG has been owned by Reynolds Group Holdings Limited, which is a part of the Rank Group of New Zealand. Earlier this year, Reynolds announced that it was undertaking a strategic review of its SIG business, which could result in a decision to sell. In a presentation of the third quarter results of this year, the company noted that its performance was being affected by lower sales, and higher manufacturing and raw material costs, particularly for resin.

SIG is the second largest provider - after TetraPak  - of aseptic carton packaging globally. Based in Switzerland, SIG provides beverage and food producers with a comprehensive product portfolio of aseptic carton sleeves and closures, as well as the filling machines that producers and packagers use with these sleeves. The company operates seven production facilities globally, based out of Europe, South America and Asia Pacific.

It is an exciting time for SIG, says CEO Rolf Stangl: the deal involves and equity investment of approximately $1,250 million, which will be made by Onex Partners IV and certain limited partners as co-investors, including Onex, and SIG's management team.

"SIG's management team has successfully proven its ability to enter and grow in new markets, while maintaining its standard of excellence in existing markets," said Nigel Wright, a Managing Director in Onex' London office.

"We look forward to partnering with Rolf Stangl and his team to further build upon SIG's impressive track record and continue its growth."

The deal, one of Onex's largest this year, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals.

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