RPC Group plc is on the verge of acquiring Dutch-owned polyethylene blow molder Ten Cate Mouldings BV.
RPC of Raunds, England, and Ten Cate Mouldings' owner, Royal Ten Cate NV of Almelo, the Netherlands, are close to agreement and the sale is due to be concluded by early May, according to a Royal Ten Cate spokesman.
TCM, based in Oldenzaal, the Netherlands, blow molds stackable bulk bottles, chiefly for the European oil and chemical industries. It operates plants in Oldenzaal and Somercotes, England, where it runs Battenfeld Fisher blow molding machines to turn out containers in sizes of 60 ounces to 9 gallons, according to Royal Ten Cate.
TCM employs 45 and had 1997 sales of $7.25 million.
A spokesman for the Dutch conglomerate said talks ``have reached a negotiation stage which justifies the presumption'' that TCM will be sold to RPC.
He said the sale was a result of a ``strategic reorientation process'' in which Royal Ten Cate recognized that it could not offer TCM sufficient scope to develop fully as a blow molder. The unit would have a better chance outside the group with RPC, he said.
RPC has acquired a mainland European plastics packaging empire, beginning with its 1997 takeover of Continental Plastics Europe, the former non-PET bottle unit of Schmalbach-Lubeca AG.
Today RPC has 20 injection, thermoforming and blow molding subsidiaries in seven European countries and employs 3,500. RPC has most of its blow molding operations in Britain with other plants in Spain, Germany and Belgium.
RPC has continued to invest heavily in its new plants and to acquire additional companies. In February it announced its purchase of food and toiletries packaging thermoformer Stag Plastics Ltd. of Bristol, England, for $5.57 million from Bunzl plc of London.
An RPC spokesman confirmed that the group is negotiating with Royal Ten Cate.
``Talks are continuing but no agreement is likely before the end of April or early May. They are progressing slowly and loose ends are being tied up,'' he said in a telephone interview.