Alpha Packaging Inc. is venturing into smaller PET bottles, acquiring Yorkbridge Packaging Northeast of Bethlehem, Pa.
Alpha announced the deal Jan. 12, saying the purchase closed Dec. 21. It marks the first major investment for Alpha since private equity firm Stonebridge Partners of White Plains, N.Y., bought a stake in the St. Louis-based blow molder one year ago.
The combined companies will have more than $60 million in annual sales. Alpha, which ended 2005 with $50 million in sales, makes PET and high density polyethylene bottles at three plants. It also has a marketing agreement to make bottles and preforms from polylactic acid for NatureWorks PLA.
Alpha's PET bottles and jars range from 1-32 ounces with neck sizes of 20-89 millimeters. Yorkbridge specializes in smaller packages, such as amenities bottles for the hotel industry; those bottles have neck widths of 15mm, 18mm and 20mm.
``This is a good acquisition for us. It further strengthens our PET capacity,'' Dave Spence, chief executive officer of Alpha, said in a phone interview, adding that it supports his company's growth in the health and cosmetics market.
Yorkbridge, formerly owned by Byron-Hill Corp. of Toronto, operates 10 PET stretch blow molding machines and has 33,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Bethlehem. Alpha expects most of the 18 employees to stay. John Melaney, who has been with Yorkbridge since 1988, will serve as operations director in Bethlehem. He was manufacturing director.
Spence said Yorkbridge is in leased space and already has knocked down a wall to double manufacturing space to 66,000 square feet. He said Alpha will push that size to 92,000 square feet this year.
Alpha also serves the pharmaceuticals and vitamin-packaging markets. He said Stonebridge's equity stake is helping Alpha look at further expansion, especially by acquisition.
Alpha also has plants in St. Louis, New York and Salt Lake City.