LONDON — Rexam plc is raising its Asian profile in cosmetics and toiletry packaging, taking a 67 percent controlling interest in Taiwan-based Der Kwei Group.
Rexam bought a one-third stake of the company in January for $41.3 million. Der Kwei makes lipstick cases, mascara packs, compacts, bottles and closures at plants in China, Taiwan and Indonesia.
Now, London-based Rexam has agreed to buy a bigger share of the company for £14 million ($23.5 million) in cash.
When Rexam first invested in Der Kwei, it assumed responsibility for 65 percent of the Taiwanese firm's debt, which totaled $80 million at the end of 1997. Under the new deal, Rexam is taking on 100 percent of the debt.
In a news release, Rexam reiterated its confidence that the Asian economic crisis is not likely to have a long-term negative impact on Der Kwei's performance. Der Kwei concentrates its exporting outside Asia.
Der Kwei recorded 1997 pretax profit of $13.4 million on sales of $94 million.
Der Kwei, which operates extrusion and blow molding equipment and employs various print techniques, this year opened a third molding plant in China. The new unit expects to have annual sales of as much as $15 million.
China by far is the molder's greatest manufacturing center, accounting in 1997 for 70 percent of the firm's output, according to Rexam.