Australian diversified manufacturer Southcorp Holdings Ltd. has expanded its North American rigid plastic packaging business by acquiring injection molder Bennett Industries Inc. of Peotone, Ill., for US$50 million. Bennett employs about 500, operates five rigid plastics plants and has annual sales of US$80 million.
The firm will be merged with South-corp's Atlanta-based North American Packaging Corp. (Nampac), which operates seven plants in North America. Southcorp Holdings is headquartered in Adelaide, Australia.
Both of the U.S. businesses manufacture rigid plastic pails, with Bennett focusing on the food processing industry and Nampac on industrial markets.
The acquisition is scheduled for completion in July, but is subject to U.S. regulatory agency approvals.
Bennett is owned by Park-Ohio Industries Inc., a diversified, Cleveland-based manufacturer of industrial products, including components for the airline, automotive, locomotive and trucking industries.
``Bennett's plastic pail business has grown from $40 million in 1992 to $80 million in 1995,'' Edward F. Crawford, Park-Ohio chairman, said in a prepared statement.
Barry Watts, executive general manager of Southcorp's Mel-bourne-based packaging division, said Bennett complements Nampac's existing business base, and will give Nampac much-need capacity in major North American markets, including Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey, Georgia and California.
Accroding to Graham Kraehe, Southcorp Holding's managing director and chief executive, North America's rigid plastics packaging market is a key growth area.