Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity has acquired Mexican disposable tableware maker Grupo Convermex SA de CV from Tablewood Holding International.
Terms of the deal were not revealed and it was not immediately clear who will operate the company.
Convermex has five manufacturing plants and 18 distribution centers in Mexico, according to Merrill Lynch. It serves retailers, wholesalers and institutional customers across the country.
Founded in 1968 in Puebla, 80 miles southeast of Mexico City, the company was acquired by Tablewood in June 2003. Tablewood's lead investor is J.P. Morgan Partners LLC of New York.
At the time, it employed more than 1,000, managed 17 distribution centers and operated three plants, in Guadalajara, Monterrey and Puebla.
In a news release, Merrill Lynch said Convermex is Mexico's leading producer and distributor of plastic disposable tableware products.
``The company uses proprietary technology to manufacture expanded polystyrene cups and containers. In addition, the company manufactures and sells an extensive variety of thermoformed cups, foamed and hard plates, trays and containers, as well as matching lids.''
Mexico's market for disposable tableware has been growing at ``attractive rates, driven by favorable macro and socio-demographic trends,'' according to Merrill Lynch.
Growth was 9 percent annually in the six years prior to 2003, ``thanks to increasing numbers of fast-food chains,'' THI said after buying Convermex.
Convermex's growth strategy is ``centered on expanding its product portfolio through acquisitions or organically through the development of innovative products.''