Two European plastic packaging companies have joined to create the world's largest producer of returnable plastic packaging for materials handling.
Schoeller Wavin Systems NV of Vilsteren acquired Arca Systems International AB of MalmÃ¶, Sweden, for about 190 million euros ($251 million). Both firms are European market leaders - Schoeller Wavin in crates and trays for beer and other beverages, and Arca in returnable plastics packaging. The seller, Swedish investment firm Industri Kapital of Stockholm, has owned Arca since 1998.
The merged firm, Schoeller Arca Systems NV, with annual sales of about 520 million euros ($660 million), injection molds pallets, big boxes, intermediate bulk containers, bread crates, and stacking and nesting containers. Schoeller Arca also does decorating and mold design. Headquartered in Vilsteren, it employs 1,750 and operates 20 production plants in Europe and North America.
``The companies are complementary both in terms of products and geography ... and we can integrate them without worrying about overlaps and cost-cutting,'' said Stefano Bonfiglio, a partner with London-based private equity firm Stirling Square Capital Partners LLP, the majority shareholder of Schoeller Wavin.
``There will be some consolidation in a couple of countries,'' he said.
The new company is seeking market opportunities in Asia and the United States, according to management.
Global demand for returnable plastic containers is growing 4-6 percent annually, said the new firm's chief executive officer, Rene Wolfkamp, who had been CEO of Schoeller Wavin. Arca's former CEO, Wiking Henricsson, is vice chairman of the merged firm.
Perstorp AB founded Arca in 1970. Arca reported 2004 sales of 220 million euros ($274 million), and Schoeller Wavin had sales of 300 million euros ($373 million).
Both companies have U.S. arms: Schoeller Wavin Systems Inc. is based in Tampa, Fla., and Arca Xytec Systems Inc. is in Tacoma, Wash.