In a major reshuffling of Europe's plastics packaging pack, South Africa's Nampak Ltd. has sold its European nondairy container plants to RPC Group plc for £23 million ($42 million).
The deal includes Nampak Plastics Europe Ltd.'s seven extrusion blow and injection stretch blow molding facilities - three in the United Kingdom and four in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The plants blow mold mainly polypropylene, high density polyethylene and PET containers for automotive oil, agricultural chemicals and industrial chemicals - all markets more closely aligned with RPC.
The operations employ 1,000 and made a profit of £6 million ($11 million) on sales of around £77 million ($140 million), according to RPC.
RPC said it will close the Nampak plant in Woburn Sands, England, and move the equipment to RPC plants.
The Nampak plants add to RPC's limited blow molding operations in continental Europe. Currently the company has the greater part of its blow molding cluster concentrated in the United Kingdom, with just three mainland plants, two in Spain and one in Germany.
``These businesses complement our existing operations,'' said RPC Chief Executive Officer Ron Marsh.
The sale allows Nampak of Johannesburg, South Africa, to offload a string of ``only marginally profitable,'' noncore operations to concentrate in Europe on carton expansion and its British plastic dairy container business.
``Nampak remains committed to supporting its long-run plastic packaging business in the U.K., which serves mainly the fresh milk market. Operating from six factories, it supplies most of the major dairy groups and retailers with blow molded plastic bottles and is the leading supplier in this market,'' Nampak said in a news release.
The acquisition more than doubles the annual sales of RPC's blow molding business and will add more than 200 machines to the 120 it already runs, according to Chris Sworn, finance director for Higham Ferrers, England-based RPC.
``This acquisition has been primarily done to build up our plastic packaging business in Europe as a whole,'' Sworn said.