Aptar acquisition targets pharma, emerging markets

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AptarGroup Inc. said Jan. 25 it is buying German packaging maker Mega Airless for about 200 million euros ($218 million), to help it expand in pharmaceutical markets and in Latin American and Asian countries where use of airless dispensing is growing.

Crystal Lake, Ill.-based Aptar, which has factories in 18 countries worldwide, said the acquisition of the smaller and more specialized Mega, with 30 years of experience in all-plastic airless dispensing technology, will speed that growth.

“The beauty of Mega from Aptar’s point of view is to significantly shorten the time to get to market,” said Aptar President and CEO Stephen Hagge, in a Jan. 26 conference call with analysts.

Aptar said it has its own airless technology in beauty and consumer health care markets. But Mega Plast GmbH, the Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany-based company that does business as Mega Airless, is more established in faster growing markets like prescription drugs and personal care.

“Today, dermal applications are growing and evolving,” Hagge said. “Regulatory agencies in the prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical markets, and customers in the beauty and personal care markets, are seeking better ways to control dosing and preserve formulations.”

Aptar Chief Financial Officer Robert Kuhn told analysts that Mega will help its expansion in emerging markets.

“We were looking to go into Asia and Latin America with airless dispensing,” he said. “We now have products that we see as better suited to those markets.”

Aptar has factories in China, India and Brazil, in addition to a sizable footprint in North America and Europe, while Mega only has two factories in Germany and one in the United States.

Mega’s projected annual sales for 2015 are about 61 million euros ($66 million) and it has achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margins of more than 30 percent in the last three years, Aptar said.

The fastest growing part of Mega’s business has been pharmaceutical packaging, Kuhn said. About 60 percent of Mega sales are in Europe, 35 percent in the United States and 5 percent in Latin America and Asia, Kuhn said.

Aptar said the deal is scheduled to close in the first quarter, and will be funded about two-thirds from cash from its European operations and one-third from borrowing.

Hagge said the company did not expect to build additional facilities for the Mega technology in the short term, and will use Aptar capacity globally.

He said the Mega has been one of Aptar’s “top two or three targets” for acquisition in recent years. Mega’s family owners decided to sell the company because of the age of the primary shareholder but the existing Mega management team will stay, Hagge said. Aptar declined to name the family owners.