BERRY FORKS OVER $26 MILLION FOR FORMER RIVAL PACKERWARE

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Berry Plastics Corp. has completed its acquisition of injection molder PackerWare Corp. for about $26.3 million.

Last week Berry disclosed terms of the deal, which has been in the works since December. Both PackerWare and Berry injection mold drinking cups, and last year were battling each other in court over patents Berry held for a 32-ounce plastic cup that fits into most car cup holders.

Though a federal court in Alexandria, Va., ruled the patents invalid last April, Berry's appeal of that ruling was heard just this month.

The final judgment is pending in the case, which also involves two other firms.

Besides drinking cups, PackerWare also boosts Berry's plastic container market, plus adds housewares and lawn and garden products to the mix. PackerWare's Lawrence, Kan., headquarters plant has become the manufacturing hub for those products, according to a Jan. 21 news release from Berry.

Dave Weaver, vice president and former plant manager of Berry's Iowa Falls, Iowa, plant will head up operations at Lawrence.

The release did not say what Berry will manufacture at PackerWare's plant in Reno, Nev. In early 1996, PackerWare's two plants employed about 500.

The company, which last year had sales of about $44 million, will operate as a wholly owned Berry subsidiary.

With roughly $140 million in sales, Berry also injection molds aerosol overcaps. The company is based in Evansville, Ind.