In a $30 million deal, Ball Corp. has taken a leap in its PET bottle production by acquiring an existing blow molder. Muncie, Ind.-based Ball Corp. announced Nov. 4 that it had reached a definitive agreement with Honickman Group of Phila-delphia to acquire certain assets of Brunswick Container of East Brunswick, N.J.
Harold Honickman, owner of a string of Pepsi-Cola and Canada Dry bottling franchises on the East Coast, said Ball purchased the production and equipment at both Brunswick plants. Ball will continue to supply bottles to Honickman but did not buy the Brunswick name.
The deal is set to close in July.
When Ball jettisoned its glass container division last year, it set certain PET sales and volume goals.
``This transaction gets us there,'' spokesman Scott McCarty said in a telephone interview.
``Our continued expansion in the rapidly growing PET market, combined with the recent sale of our mature glass and aerosol container manufacturing businesses, demonstrates our commitment to repositioning Ball Corp. for future growth,'' George A. Sissel, Ball's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
Brunswick operates two plants, one in South Hill, Va., and one in East Brunswick, N.J. Ball expects to keep the 70,000-square-foot South Hill plant and close the 250,000-square-foot East Bruns-wick facility.
About 180 employees will be affected and most will be transferred Honickman said.
In addition, Ball is exploring possible sites in the Philadelphia area to construct a plant. The company would like the plant to be up and running before July when it begins supplying Honickman. Ball also expects to supply bottles to other food and beverage customers.
``Ball is a very technically oriented company. They will do a lot of innovating in the plastics business,'' said Honickman. ``It's not our main business, bottle manufacturing. We're maintaining our focus in the soft drink business.''
Ball has three plants in production: Chino, Calif.; Lysander, N.Y.; and Reading, Pa. A fourth is under construction in Ames, Iowa.
Brunswick placed 37th in Plastics News' 1996 ranking of North American blow molders, with estimated sales of $36 million.