By: Jessica Holbrook
May 1, 2013
CHICAGO —Private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. will merge its five plastics packaging businesses, creating what it said will be the sixth-largest plastics packaging company in the world.
The merger will combine Exopack Holding Corp., Kobusch Group, Britton Group, Paragon Print & Packaging Group, and Paccor under one corporate holding company called Exopack Holdings sarl, according to a May 1 Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The group will have 63 plants, 8,650 employees and aggregate sales of more than $2.5 billion, according to a May 2 news release.
The brand names of all five businesses will remain in use by Luxembourg-based Exopack Holdings.
“It’s an exciting time for us to really take a clean slate and merge these five companies together that we purposely bought,” CEO Jack Knott said by phone.
“It’s truly a merger, not an acquisition, so it gives us the freedom to take the best practices from one company and replicate them in another one. It’s a neat opportunity,” he said.
Sun acquired Exopack in 2005 and picked up its other packaging companies over the last few years.
The companies have been working together, but operating them as separate entities has created “some impediments to being a great global company,” Knott said.
“The way we can better serve our customer base… is removing those impediments,” he added.
According to Exopack, consolidating the companies will create savings of about $65 million per year based on back-office, manufacturing and global procurement synergies.
The company will benefit from a greater range of products and technology; a global manufacturing platform will allow the business to gain share with major consumer goods companies, Exopack said.
The merger combines Spartanburg, S.C.-based Exopack, a manufacturer of advanced coatings, flexible paper and plastic packaging, with four European companies.
Britton Group is a flexible packaging producer in Winsford, England, and Paragon Print & Packaging is a maker of private-label packaging based in Spalding, England.
Both Paccor, the second-largest rigid plastic packaging company in Europe, and Kobush, a producer of custom rigid and flexible packaging systems, are headquartered in Germany.
Exopack Holdings will sell in 70 different countries, largely throughout Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia.
Having a global presence gives the company more opportunities to grow through both acquisitions and organic growth, Knott said.
“It gives customers more visibility to innovations in other parts of the world and technologies they may not have had access to before,” he added. “It gives them access to someone with a true global footprint so they have reliable and consistent products for their global sales.”
Exopack Holdings will be owned by new parent company, Luxembourg holding company Luxco. Both Luxco and Exopack will be held by funds managed by Sun.
The consolidated company will be led by Knott, who is also CEO of Exopack Holding Corp., and Mike Alger, chief financial officer of the consolidated company and of Exopack.
Knott and Alger will also serve as executive directors of Luxco.
The group will be comprised of two main operation segments — a global flexible division, led by CEO Michael Cronin, and a global rigid business led by Paccor CEO Dieter Bergner.
The merger should be completed within two weeks.
The merger gives Sun Capital more options to eventually exit the business, though the private equity group isn’t currently contemplating a sale, Knott said.