ACX Technologies Inc. acquired Britton Group plc and is wondering if it will keep Britton's plastic film business.
ACX of Golden, Colo., is attracted to Britton's paperboard carton operation in the United States because it fits with ACX's Graphic Packaging Corp. business. The Britton carton operation, Universal Packaging Corp. in Bow, N.H., runs six U.S. plants. Graphic operates 10 plants in North America.
But ACX said in a Jan. 14 news release that it is reviewing the strategic fit of Britton's plastics operations in the United Kingdom. ACX director of investor relations Holly Coors would not comment beyond that statement or indicate when her firm might make a decision on the film plants' fate.
Britton's 10 film plants extrude polyethylene and polypropylene and convert them into a range of bags, including security cash bags widely used in Europe instead of cloth bags. Coors said Graphic makes folding cartons, roll stock, laminations and flexible packaging. It also purchases plastic film and converts it into bottle labels and packaging for confectioneries, food and pet food.
Coors said ACX made a bid Nov. 15 of £1.40 ($2.28) per Britton common share and £1 ($1.63) per convertible share. London-based Britton accepted the bid Jan. 14. In October, the company turned down a £1.20 (US$1.96) per-common-share offer made by Caraustar Industries Inc. of Atlanta, saying the offer was ``absurdly low.''
ACX said its deal to buy Britton is worth about $420 million. Coors put the share purchase at $335 million, with debt and transaction costs accounting for the balance of the total.
Britton said last year that it was considering an investment in its plastics operations and looking for acquisitions, after buying six plants in the past year. It operates 50 blown and four cast film lines, with extrusion capacity totaling 143 million pounds a year. Britton officials declined comment on the ACX deal and would not elaborate on the plastics operations.
Graphic is ACX's largest business, with sales of about $347 million in 1996. ACX expects the Britton purchase to boost Graphic's sales to more than $625 million in 1998.
Britton had sales of $176 million for the six months ended June 30, while profit slipped 30 percent to $12.8 million.
ACX's Coors Ceramics Co. business had sales from technical ceramics and engineered materials of $276 million in 1996. Its Golden Technologies unit, involved in developmental businesses, logged $89 million in sales that year.