Berry Plastics Corp. of Evansville, Ind., is building on its flexible packaging business with the acquisition of Rollpak Corp. in Goshen, Ind.
The transaction was completed April 11.
Brothers Dale and Gary Weaver started Rollpak in 1983 when they partnered with a firm in Sweden to break into the U.S. market. The concept was to produce trash bags perforated on a coreless roll using a highly automated manufacturing process. In 2002, the Weavers bought out the Swedish partner.
``We don't have any family that can take over the company,'' Dale Weaver, Rollpak's chief executive officer, said in an April 12 telephone interview.
``We think the time is right to do it now,'' he said, regarding the sale. ``The company is doing very well now financially. Gary and I wanted to do an exit strategy at a time when we could enjoy it.''
Dale Weaver said there will be no changes in operations and Rollpak's management team will stay in place. Berry will integrate the Rollpak name as a brand. Rollpak employs 93 at its facility in Goshen.
``It's been a great run,'' Weaver said. ``We have all confidence that Berry will continue on the Rollpak tradition. Their culture, given their size, is very impressive.''
Berry just a few weeks ago merged with flexibles firm Covalence Special Materials Holding Corp. of Bedminster, N.J., under private equity owner Apollo Management LP. Now, with Rollpak, Berry gains technological and manufacturing prowess that can be adopted in other parts of the company.
``The industrial logic to that acquisition is very sweet,'' said Tim Burns, a packaging consultant with Cranial Capital Inc. in Solon, Ohio.
Combining Rollpak's technology with Berry's girth, especially now that it includes Covalence, creates a company that will benefit in areas like resin purchasing and supply chain management.
Berry is on track to ``build a $10 billion packaging company,'' Burns said. ``It may be vertical, it may be horizontal. There's more to go on the Berry Plastics side.''
He added that this is a good time for owners of midsized firms to sell their businesses, ``especially now when multiples are so high.''
Robert Weilminster, Berry's vice president of corporate development, said Berry has been studying and looking at flexible packaging for a period of time.
``We're very interested in flexible film for North America,'' Weilminster said.
``With the opportunity to bring Berry and Covalence together, it gave us a huge platform for the flexibles marketplace.''
Weilminster and other officials have set a fairly short timetable for integrating Rollpak into Berry - about six months. In addition, Berry officials will be digesting the business and 37 manufacturing sites added by the Covalence merger.
``We're in the process of doing a very detailed evaluation of businesses on board to make sure we're making the right decisions for the business going forward,'' Weilminster said.
Meantime, Berry also divested its Berry Plastics UK Ltd. subsidiary, which injection molds aerosol caps and spray caps. The unit was sold to Plasticum Group BV of Tilburg, Netherlands.
The deal includes one plant in North Walsham, England, with 55 employees, said Plasticum marketing manager Ilona Vermeer.
Plasticum already operates a plant in Alfreton, England, and is evaluating how it will combine the operations, Vermeer said. Plasticum's Alfreton operation employs 40.
``There has been overcapacity in the U.K. market in past years,'' Vermeer said. ``Now we are trying to rationalize that and we hope it leads to a healthier production environment.''
Plasticum has been looking for acquisitions since it was divested last year by technical textiles firm Royal Ten Cate NV of Almelo, Netherlands.