Just months after acquiring Courtaulds plc, Akzo Nobel NV has sold the bulk of Courtaulds' global tube and packaging operations in a management buyout for £82 million ($135 million).
Akzo Plastic Packaging and its Laminate and Aluminium Tubes business formed a major part of the former Courtaulds Polymer Products division, with annual sales of about £221 million pounds ($362 million).
Akzo of Arnhem, Netherlands, said it also plans to sell a remaining British rigid-plastic-container plant, as well as its U.S.-based Performance Films. Those units were not part of the deal.
The Polymer Products businesses are noncore for Akzo, which is concentrating on the coatings operations also acquired from London-based Courtaulds.
As previously reported, the Dutch firm on Oct. 16 sold the former Courtaulds-run Knight Engineering and Plastics with plastic aerosol overcap and closure injection molding plants at Woodstock and Arlington Heights, Ill., to Berry Plastics Corp. of Evansville, Ind. Separately, it sold Courtaulds' paint and packaging coatings units. In January it will spin off its Acordis fibers business.
In the latest deal, seven senior managers backed by a London private equity company, Schroder Ventures Ltd., bought the Courtaulds packaging and tube businesses.
The acquired business will be known as Betts Ltd., reverting to the name it used before its 1958 takeover by Courtaulds. Paul Mines, leader of the management team, will become chief executive officer of Betts.
``Betts is a tremendous business with exciting products and committed people,'' Mines said by telephone Dec. 1. ``There are great opportunities to expand its business, both geographically and into new applications.''
The subsidiaries are plastic container, laminate tube and closure makers that include the former Courtaulds Packaging Inc. of Florence, Ky., and laminate tube plants in Colchester, England; Shanghai, China; Surabaya, Indonesia; and joint ventures in Goa, India; and Warsaw, Poland. Its U.S. laminate tube operations are in Florence and Woodstock.
Betts' new management is looking to expand in Eastern European markets that remain attractive, Mines said. Courtaulds entered the Warsaw venture last year.
``Despite the Russian [economic] crisis, Eastern Europe has remained buoyant and offers considerable growth. We are looking further east,'' he said.
He added that Betts sees market opportunities in Nepal and Mexico, and in expanding its personal-care packaging into new regions.
About 60 percent of Betts' packaging is for toothpaste, Mines said. Other products comprise asthma inhalers, pharmaceutical tubes, aerosol overcaps and some specialty food packaging.
Plastic Packaging, based in Colchester, operates plants there and in Wrexham, Wales, injection molding aerosol caps, drug-delivery devices, tamper-evident and child-resistant closures, and food and beverage containers. The remaining British plant, in Stevenage, England, produces rigid plastic packaging and will be sold separately, Akzo said. Mines said the plant does not fit well with the other acquired operations.
Akzo claimed its Laminate and Aluminium Tubes subsidiary made it the world's second-largest laminate tube maker.
The units being sold have sales of about £94 million ($154 million). Together, they employ 1,100 and primarily serve multinational groups in the pharmaceutical, toothpaste, medical and cosmetics products sectors.
Akzo, which in late September completed its purchase of Courtaulds for 6.3 billion Dutch guilders ($3.3 billion), is following through on Courtaulds' original plan to dispose of its Polymer Products group.
Total financing raised for the transaction amounted to £103 million ($169 million), which includes funds for further expansion, according to Schroder Ventures.