British film converter Parkside Flexibles Ltd. is expanding its European base with the acquisition of BP Chemicals' performance films operations in England and Poland.
Meanwhile, BP has sold four German film and converting operations to Rheinische Kunststoffwerke GmbH, a unit of Renolit Group of Worms, Germany.
In the Parkside deal, the company will take over BP's 40 million-pound-per-year polyethylene film plant in Darton, England, and its 6.6 million-pound plant in Zlotow, Poland. The BP businesses make flexible packaging for bread, tissues, diapers, frozen foods and snacks. Customers include Allied Bakeries and Procter & Gamble Co.
The Darton facility employs about 350, while the Zlotow plant has a work force of 85, according to London-based BP Chemicals.
Normanton, England-based Park side said it aims to become a leading European flexibles player and is seeking other acquisitions in mainland Europe. Formed in 2000 through a $9.5 million management buyout from British Polythene Industries plc, Parkside produces a range of consumer-packaging products, including stand-up pouches, shrink sleeves, laminates and labels.
``Our business is becoming more international as large customers centralize their buying and spread their interests across the continent,'' said Parkside Managing Director Geoffrey Stewart in a news release. ``I believe that to achieve our ambition to become the best European source for flexible packaging, we must have operations abroad.
``This is the first piece of that jigsaw, and we are on the lookout for more.''
The deal is subject to approval by European authorities as well as those in Poland. Terms were not disclosed.
Parkside claims to be Europe's first converter of oriented polypropylene shrink sleeves and a pioneer in plastic wrap-around labels and water-based inks. The company has converting plants in Normanton and Stoke-on-Trent, England. The firm does gravure and flexographic printing.
In Germany, BP Chemicals sold BP Plas Tec GmbH two plants that make medical and specialty films, one plant that extrudes mulch film and bale wrap, as well as a plant that makes nonwoven polypropylene and laminates. The plants employ about 750.
The deal raises Rheinische Kunststoffwerke's number of production plants to 15 and its employment to 2,300.
BP said it wants to focus on its chemicals businesses. It announced in January 2001 that it intended to dispose of its plastics fabrications group. Two units remain to be sold: a technical components business that makes blow molded parts for the appliance and automotive industries, and a rigid container and flexible packaging business in Dietenheim, Germany.
The technical components operation has plants in Rottenacker, Germany, and Charlotte, N.C.