Berry Plastics Corp. continues to acquire companies at a frenzied pace, with its $50 million deal for Venture Packaging Inc. of Monroeville, Ohio. This marks Berry's fourth acquisition this year.
Venture injection molds polypropylene and polyethylene open-top containers, mainly for the food and dairy markets. It operates two molding plants, one in Monroeville, and another in Anderson, S.C., on 37 acres. The company also has a printing and distribution plant in Chesapeake, Va., that Berry will close.
``They exclusively make open-top containers, an area in which we're very strong,'' Martin Imbler, Berry Plastics president and chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview. ``The food and dairy markets, we're not in so much. It's a nice combination when they're put together.''
Venture has about 30 injection presses, employs 500 and had about $45 million in sales last year. It makes tubes and buckets ranging in sizes from 6 ounces to 5 gallons. The deal was finalized Aug. 29.
The purchase price of $50 million included repayment or assumption of indebtedness. It also included cash, $5 million of preferred stock of Berry's parent company, BPC Holding Corp., and warrants to purchase stock of BPC.
``This acquisition is another significant step in our long-term effort to transform Berry into the leader in its industry,'' said Berry Chairman Roberto Buaron.
Buaron characterized Berry as ``operating in a consolidating industry with significant potential'' for improved production efficiency. He said the firm will pursue growth aggressively both internally and through acquisitions.
Berry will consolidate the Chesapeake operation with Berry's plant in nearby Suffolk, Va., which Berry bought from Virginia Design Packaging Corp. in May. Berry has no other consolidation plans, officials said.
John Rathbun, Venture president and owner, will become Berry vice president.
Berry operates nine plants, with 1,988 employees, including those from Venture, and 190 injection molding machines, with clamping forces of 150-750 tons. The Evansville, Ind.-based company serves customers including Gillette, Procter & Gamble Co., Sherwin-Williams, Borden, McDonald's, Burger King, Coca-Cola Co., Wal-Mart and Kmart.
Its products include PP, PE and styrene acrylonitrile aerosol overcaps, open-top containers, drink cups, housewares and lawn and garden products.
Last year, Berry had pro forma sales of about $250 million. With Venture's 9 percent market share, Berry claims to control about 30 percent of the $500 million open-top container market.
The Venture acquisition follows Berry's January purchase of PackerWare Corp. of Lawrence, Kan., and certain assets of both Container Industries Inc. of Pacoima, Calif., and Virginia Design.
Berry's principal owners include New York-based First Atlantic Capital, Chase Capital Partners, Aetna Life Insurance Co., CIT Group/Equity Investments Inc. and Berry management.