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Amcor's bid for Constar unsuccessful

By: Don Loepp By: Kate Tilley

February 6, 2014

Amcor Ltd. has been unsuccessful in its bid to buy the North American assets of Constar International Holdings LLC.

In a Feb. 6 auction, Amcor was outbid by another company. An Amcor spokesman told Plastics News he will not name the company, but said its name will be "on the wire" within 24 to 48 hours.

He would not say how much the winning company paid, but said "at the end of the day the nature of an auction is that the winning bid doesn't have to be much more than the losing one.

"At a certain price it no longer fits the criteria. Amcor has a well-defined returns focus for investments and will remain disciplined in its approach to acquisitions," he said.

"Constar went into bankruptcy and part of the process was for liquidators to establish the best possible price."

Amcor announced on Dec. 20 it had entered into an asset purchase agreement with Constar, under which Constar had agreed to sell substantially all its U.S. business to Amcor.

Constar said the transaction with Amcor was subject to higher and better offers and approval of the Bankruptcy Court, as well as other customary closing conditions.

A few weeks after the deal was announced, two other potential bidders emerged: Plastipak Holdings Inc. and CKS Packaging Inc. Both filed objections with the court over the rules Amcor and Constar had set up for the sale.

Industry sources suggest Constar was a relatively small bolt-on acquisition for Amcor, so there is minimal impact on the U.S. blow molding industry.

Hawthorn, Australia-based Amcor announced Feb. 7 local time that "it was not successful in acquiring the North American assets of Constar International Holdings LLC."

Constar had planned to sell most of its assets in two separate auctions, one for its U.S. assets and another for assets or stock of affiliates in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Amcor and Trevose, Pa.-based Constar had originally announced the deal back on Dec. 19. Constar had filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Amcor was the stalking horse bidder, and the purchase was being supervised by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Constar was a pioneer in the PET bottle business, and a few decades ago Constar and Amcor's U.S. predecessor — Johnson Controls Inc. — were the top two blow molders in North America, according to Plastics News' rankings.

Now, however, Amcor is still the No. 1 plastic bottle supplier, with North American sales of US$2.65 billion. According to Amcor, Constar's U.S. business now has six plants and annualized sales of about US$190 million.