With its recent purchase of General Plastics SA, AptarGroup Inc. of Crystal Lake, Ill., has consolidated its share of the European plastic closure market. AptarGroup bought a controlling interest in the Meaux, France, maker of injection molded dispensing closures on Dec. 18, said spokesman Ralph Poltermann.
The company paid less than $16.5 million for the French firm - General Plastics' annual sales for fiscal 1995 - a price that includes assumed debt, Poltermann said in a Dec. 27 telephone interview.
Aptar has been looking for ways to boost its dispensing closures business in Europe, which made up only 14 percent, or $12 million, of its $85 million in total closure sales for 1994. North American sales made up the core.
The acquisition comes only months after the company obtained 35 percent of Loffler Kunststoffwerk GmbH, a private injection molder of dispensing and standard closures based in Freyung, Germany.
However, Poltermann said, sales for closures and valves dropped this year, while pumps are on the rise.
``The strength of the pump market in Europe has been propelling our sales,'' Poltermann said.
General Plastics molds closures out of two French plants - one in Meaux, another undisclosed - mainly for the personal-care market in that country, he said.
According to Poltermann, the company is closing a third plant, in Malaysia.
The purchase gives Aptar its first bi-injection molding capabilities, which allow it to mold two colors or materials in the same cycle.
General Plastics is a subsidiary of French holding company, Cristour SA, which Aptar also acquired from private shareholders, Poltermann said.
Publicly held Aptar makes mostly pumps, aerosol valves and dispensing closures for the personal-care, cosmetics and household markets.
Its worldwide sales for 1995 totaled ``well over $500 million,'' he said.
In 1994, the company recorded sales of $474 million, according to Polternmann.