Rexam Group plc is still in talks to buy Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc.'s beauty and health-care packaging business, but the two sides are having trouble reaching an agreement, according to a Rexam spokesman.
``Our discussions with Crown Cork are taking longer than expected. There is a difference of opinion over the price. It is not us who is delaying an agreement,'' said Per Erlandsson, communications director for the London-based global packaging company.
Philadelphia-based Crown Cork spokesman Tim Donahue did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Last year Rexam boosted its beverage division with the £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) takeover of American National Can's metal can operations. Now Rexam plans to build up its plastics division with a string of smaller acquisitions.
Chief Executive Officer Rolf Borjesson wants to achieve a 50-50 balance between beverage and plastics divisions in the medium term. Beverage operations now account for about 75 percent of sales.
``There are not going to be any more big acquisitions on the plastics side. That's because there is nothing available in plastics that has that size,'' Erlandsson said.
Investments in plastics will be concentrated on high-margin beauty, health-care and food packaging, including thin-wall specialty containers, he said. One recent deal that fits that mold: Rexam paid $23 million in August for a thin-wall container plant in Stilling, Denmark, plus assets from a Nummela, Finland, plant from Danapak A/S of Odense, Denmark.
That deal gave Rexam key contracts for polystyrene and polypropylene margarine tubs and other dairy-food containers from Danapak's controlling shareholder and Europe's top dairy company, Arla Foods Group of Arhus, Denmark.