Tetra Laval BV is in a fighting mood, despite being rebuffed in October by the European Commission in its bid to acquire blow molding machine maker Sidel SA of Le Havre, France.
Pully, Switzerland-based Tetra Laval, which makes packaging and machinery, is appealing the commission's decision to block its $1.61 billion takeover attempt, arguing that the group has not shown that a merger would give Tetra Laval an unfair monopoly in beverage packaging. The appeal was lodged in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Privately run Tetra Laval said it is confident of overturning the decision. The company has applied for a fast-track ruling on its appeal, which would come within a year. Normal appeals take two to three years.
``The prospect of success is very positive,'' Tetra Laval spokesman Jorgen Haglind said in a telephone interview from the company's manufacturing base in Lund, Sweden.
Tetra Laval launched the Sidel takeover bid in March 2001. Tetra Laval currently owns 94 percent of Sidel. If the appeal is dismissed, the company will be forced to sell its stake, perhaps within nine months.
Tetra Laval now is reviewing its plastics packaging strategy and will pursue a ``parallel track'' while the matter of Sidel is being resolved, Haglind said. That way, if the takeover finally gets the green light, the firm will be able to switch back to its original plan.
Meanwhile, Sidel announced Jan. 29 that it has granted blow molder Plastipak Packaging Inc. of Plymouth, Mich., exclusive rights to Sidel's Actis bottle-coating technology and equipment for barrier containers throughout South America.
Plastipak, which has two Actis machines in the United States and Brazil to produce beer bottles, already is the only commercial supplier of bottles treated with the barrier technology in North America, according to Sidel.