ESPOO, FINLAND — Huhtamaki Van Leer Oyj is expanding its global spread with the purchase of a South African rigid plastic and paper food-service and packaging firm. HVL bought Nampak Ltd.'s Mono Containers unit, which has plants in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. The unit uses a wide range of processes and materials to make thermoformed polystyrene cups and lids, extruded and expanded PS food packaging, injection molded containers with in-mold-applied labels, and paper cups.
The unit has sales of about $15 million, a work force of 380 and serves South African margarine, ice cream and food-service customers, according to HVL. HVL did not disclose the purchase price. Mono Containers HVL already operates in South Africa through the former Van Leer NV flexible packaging, molded fiber and steel drums businesses there.
"HVL is a global company and cannot be outside any markets now. It has to analyze every opportunity, and South Africa already falls within the scope of the group," said Juha Korppi-Tommola, HVL's senior group manager.
HVL aims to master the various technologies it is acquiring and expects to invest further in the Mono business as the market demands, Korppi-Tommola said. His group will consider transferring the Mono paper cups operation, which alone is located at another Nampak facility in Cape Town, to an HVL plant, probably to the flexible packaging unit at Springs near Johannesburg, he added.
HVL, based in Espoo formed last year after Huhtamaki Oyj bid $1 billion for Amstelveen, Netherlands-based Van Leer.
Meanwhile, Johannesburg-based Nampak, Africa's largest packaging company, is seeking acquisition candidates in Europe in its core PET and high density polyethylene packaging businesses.
Last year Nampak paid $158 million to buy blow molder Plysu plc of Milton Keynes, England.