Publicly held U.S. Can going private OAK BROOK, ILL. — After 17 years in the metal container business and five in plastics as a publicly held company, U.S. Can Corp. is going private.
Managers of the Oak Brook-based spinoff of Sherwin-Williams Co.'s Container Division announced March 22 that they had partnered with Boston-based private equity firm Berkshire Partners to buy the company.
Shareholders will receive $21 in cash per outstanding share, for a total of about $280 million. The stock had hit a 52-week low of $12 per share on March 7, but was trading at $15 just prior to the announcement.
U.S. Can Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Jones said even though the company has seen 50 percent earnings growth from year to year since 1997, the stock performance has lagged.
"The market is sending a strong message that we shouldn't be a public company," Jones said in a March 23 telephone interview. "A lot of our investors and analysts have been suggesting we buy back stock.
"When our stock dropped down below 14 three or four weeks ago — through no fault of the company — we decided we get the message and we started talking to some lending institutions and private equity institutions."
U.S. Can reported 1999 sales at $714 million — up from $710 million in 1998.
Berkshire will give the company more capital muscle for acquisitions. Since 1995, the company has grown its plastic container business with the purchase of plastic paint container makers Plastite Corp. of Morrow, Ga., and CPI Plastics Inc. of Newnan, Ga.
Finland strike disrupts polyolefin biz
PORVOO, FINLAND — A nationwide chemical industry strike that began March 16 in Finland is disrupting polyolefin production at three Borealis A/S plants in Porvoo.
Representatives of chemical companies and the Finnish Chemical Industry Workers Union resumed talks March 22, but Borealis said it had no indication of how long the strike will last.
"Product deliveries from the Porvoo site to customers are being interrupted by the strike. It will have a negative financial impact on the Finnish company [subsidiary Borealis Polymers Oy], though no cost estimate can be made at this stage," the company announced soon after the dispute began.
The affected sites include a polypropylene plant with annual capacity of 375 million pounds, a polyethylene plant with 640 million pounds and a PE compounding plant with 110 million pounds.
The strike involves 5,000 blue-collar workers in the oil, gas and petrochemicals industries in Finland and has hit an estimated 22 companies, according to Borealis, based in Lyngby, Denmark.
Parkinson buys orientation machinery
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Just a month after it bought the assets of Marshall and Williams Co., the St. Louis-based Harbour Group Ltd. has sold that company's Plastics Machinery Division to Parkinson Machinery and Manufacturing Corp. of Woonsocket.
The sold business makes tenter frames and other types of equipment used to produce biaxially oriented polypropylene and polystyrene film and sheet.
Ken Cavanagh, vice president of Parkinson, said the acquisition broadens the company's line of web handling equipment, which includes turret winders, surface winders and laminating lines.
Parkinson's sister company, Key Filters Inc., makes screen changers for extrusion.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Parkinson Machinery will move all the equipment into its expanded headquarters plant in Woonsocket. Parkinson plans to add a 125-foot laboratory line to demonstrate biaxial orientation, Cavanagh said.
The plant, shared by Parkinson and Key Filters, measures 80,000 square feet. In 1998, the firms built a 10,000-square-foot addition, creating the lab and boosting manufacturing space. Another 20,000-square-foot expansion last year increased assembly space, Cavanagh said.
Harbour Group bought Marshall and Williams on Feb. 17. Harbour is keeping the part of the company that makes textile equipment.
Harbour Group also owns auxiliary machinery maker AEC Inc.