Closures and dispensing-systems maker AptarGroup Inc. has agreed to buy a Swiss aerosol-valve company to boost its technology in a growing niche market.
Crystal Lake, Ill.-based AptarGroup will acquire EP Spray System SA, which makes a bag-and-valve dispensing unit for personal-care and pharmaceutical containers. The purchase of the NeuchÃ¢tel, Switzerland, company is to close in the second quarter, AptarGroup Chief Financial Officer Stephen Hagge said during a Feb. 10 conference call with analysts.
AptarGroup will pay about $29 million to buy EP Spray and will retain EP Spray's current management and broaden use of its technology for other AptarGroup operations, AptarGroup President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Siebel said in the conference call.
``The technology is of great interest,'' he said. ``We plan to add new valve technology to our portfolio. [EP Spray] has considerable knowledge that provides an interesting barrier to entry for new competition.''
EP Spray's dispensing system offers a physical separation between the product and the propellant, protecting against hazardous emissions and product contamination, Siebel said. Users can hold containers in any direction, including upside down, and achieve the same effect.
The system, popular in Europe, keeps the container's contents from clogging the sprayer when it is turned in different positions, Ralph Poltermann, AptarGroup vice president and treasurer, said Feb. 17. AptarGroup would like to transfer the technology to its North America operations, he said.
EP Spray injection molds the valves for suntan lotion, household cleaners and other personal-care products, Poltermann said. Another use is quasi-pharmaceutical products where a clean-room atmosphere is not required, he said. The firm also assembles the bag-and-valve system.
``Eventually, it might make sense to manufacture the [valves] here,'' Poltermann said.
EP Spray recorded sales of about $15 million last year.
AptarGroup had record fourth-quarter sales and ended 2004 with sales of $1.29 billion, another record.