Silgan Plastics Corp. has acquired Clearplass Containers Inc., Silgan's third pickup of a consumer products blow molder in the past year.
``It gives us broader coverage in the PET personal-care business,'' said Harley Rankin Jr., executive vice president and chief financial officer of Silgan Holdings Inc. in Stamford, Conn.
He said PET containers accounted for about 75 percent of Clearplass' $23.4 million in sales for fiscal 1998, ended June 30.
Silgan Plastics will keep open the three Clearplass blow molding plants: its headquarters factory in Penn Yan, N.Y.; a year-old plant in Albia, Iowa; and a plant in Sheffield, Ala. Silgan Plastics is based in Chesterfield, Mo.
Terms were not disclosed.
Clearplass has experienced steady growth. Sales increased from $17.2 million in fiscal 1997 and $10 million in 1996, a Clearplass spokesman said.
The Clearplass deal follows Silgan Plastics' acquisition of Winn Packaging Co. in January and the North American bottle operations of Rexam plc last year. Silgan paid $14.1 million for Winn Packaging of Fairfield, Ohio, and $25.6 million for three Rexam plants, according to financial documents filed by Silgan Holdings, which is traded on the Nasdaq market.
Silgan Plastics generated 1997 profit of $28.5 million on sales of $216.4 million. The company, which had 10 plants before the Clearplass and Rexam acquisitions, ranked 11th in Plastics News' survey of North American blow molders.
Companywide, Silgan Holdings reported $1.5 billion in 1997 sales from 60 plants — most of it from metal food cans.
About 70 percent of Silgan Plastics' sales comes from health and personal-care products, such as shampoo bottles, hand creams, cosmetics and household chemicals. It makes containers from PET, high and low density polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC.
Rankin said Silgan may consider buying more blow molders, depending on their product lines.
Silgan Holdings' 1997 annual report echoed that outlook: ``The plastic container segment of the consumer goods packaging industry is highly fragmented, and management intends to pursue consolidation opportunities in that segment.''
Silgan Plastics' strategy is to focus on blow molded bottles with special decorations and shorter production runs, as a way to compete with big companies like Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc., Schmalbach-Lubeca Plastic Containers U.S.A. Inc., Owens-Brockway Plastic Products and Plastipak Packaging Inc. It does both extrusion blow molding and injection blow molding.
In metal cans, Silgan Holdings' approach has been to purchase in-house operations of major companies such as Nestle Food Co., Dial Corp. and Del Monte. Earlier this year, its metal container unit, Silgan Can Co., bought Campbell Soup Co.'s steel can manufacturing, a $200 million-plus business. Silgan Can signed a 10-year agreement to supply the cans back to Campbell.