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Sealed Air sheds rigid medical packaging unit

By: Michael Lauzon

November 13, 2013

Sealed Air Corp. is exiting the rigid medical packaging market.

The firm announced Nov. 13 that it has agreed to sell the business to private equity firm Mason Wells Buyout Fund III LP of Milwaukee, Wis.

Sealed Air plans the divestiture because the business is no longer strategic, said company spokesman Ken Aurichio in a phone interview.

"It's part of a more disciplined approach to our portfolio, to be more focused," Aurichio said. "It's a separate business with its own research and development and supply chains."

Aurichio said Sealed Air core businesses include flexible packaging for food, protective applications, high-heat uses and other markets, and cleaning and hygiene supplies in its Diversey division.

Sealed Air said it will continue in medical and pharmaceutical markets with flexible packaging.

The rigid medical packaging is mainly made from thermoformed PET. Operations in the business are in Cranston, R.I., Ireland, Netherlands and Costa Rica. Sealed Air entered the market in 2006 through acquisitions. Over the years it bought Nelipak Holdings, Alga Plastics and ATE Costa Rica. Aurichio estimated combined annual sales are about $100 million.

Sealed Air expects to receive $125 million for the sale and to complete it before the end of 2013. It will treat the sale as a discontinued business for accounting purposes. The company predicts its total sales will be about $7.7 billion this year. Its best-known trademarks are Cryovac food packaging, Bubble Wrap cushioning and Diversey.

Mason Wells already has a sizeable stake in the packaging market. Its portfolio includes Coating Excellence International LLC, a flexible packaging producer and converter in Wrightstown, Wis.; Charter NEX Films, a flexible polyethylene film packaging producer in Milton, Wis.; and Mullinix Packages Inc., which makes thermoforming packaging for the food industry.