LONDON — A disposal of Courtaulds plc's international plastics division came a step closer to reality as the British chemicals group agreed to be acquired for £1.8 billion ($2.98 billion) by Akzo Nobel NV.
The Dutch chemicals giant, which set its sights on Britain's third-ranked chemical company to make itself the world's leading coatings business, made it clear that it fully backs Courtaulds' previously announced plan to sell its polymer products division.
London-based Courtaulds confirmed it is progressing with the division's sale and has received ``a lot of interest.''
In a joint statement with Courtaulds, Akzo Nobel of Arnhem, the Netherlands, said it will combine its fibers business with Courtaulds' fibers and chemicals division. The polymer unit, for which Courtaulds hoped to receive $330 million to $500 million, has two sections: the bigger packaging business and the high-technology performance films operations.
The packaging unit produces tamper-evident, child-resistant and other closures for food, beverage and toiletry sectors, and collapsible plastic, metal and laminated tubes for the toothpaste, cosmetics and pharmaceuticalmarkets.
Courtaulds Packaging Ltd. has plants in Colchester and Stevenage, England, and Wrexham, Wales. In the United States, Courtaulds Packaging Inc. of Florence, Ky., has a tube extruding and rigid plastic closure injection molding operation at Woodstock, Ill.
Courtaulds also has packaging subsidiaries in China, India and Indonesia.
Its Performance Films business produces high-tech dyed, coated laminated and metalized films for industrial and aerospace applications. Courtaulds Performance Films Inc. of Martinsville, Va., has plants in Martinsville; Canoga Park, Calif.; and Rucorn, England.
One U.S. plastics group, injection molder Nypro Inc. of Clinton, Mass., has expressed some interest in acquiring part of the polymer division, according to a Nypro official. Other potential takers include CarnaudMetalbox SA of Paris, Pechiney SA of Paris, Alusuisse-Lonza Holding Ltd. of Zurich, Switzerland, and Rexam plc of London.