MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (June 19, 1:15 p.m. ET) — An Australian newspaper has reported that at least four private equity firms have shown interest in Melbourne-based Pact Group Pty. Ltd., after the privately owned packaging company reportedly hired Deutsche Bank to run a low-key process to sell all or part of the business.
Neither Pact nor Deutsche Bank would confirm the report, which quoted unnamed sources.
Pact is a major Australia packaging company, manufacturing plastic products for the food and retail industries, including PET bottles and containers, plastic closures and plastic crates. It also manufactures larger containers for industrial applications, including plastic pails, cubes, drums and jerry cans.
The weekly business newspaper, The Australian Financial Review (AFR) said Pact, with operations in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia, has annual sales of more than A$1 billion (US$1.01 billion) and profit of about A$180 million (US$182.9 million), according to “sources who declined to be identified.”
AFR said the sale process began late May, and bids are due by the end of June.
It reported at least four U.S. private equity firms — which it named as New York-based Blackstone Group, Washington-based Carlyle Investment Management LLC, Boston-based Bain Capital LLC, and New York-based KKR & Co. LP — have shown interest in the company. But it said Boston-based Advent International Co. has dropped out of the sale process because of the tight time frame.
AFR quoted “people involved in the situation” saying Pact and Deutsche want to compress the usual two-stage bidding process into one round. That means bidders have only about four weeks to complete due diligence, arrange finance and present final bids.
The sources were reported as saying Pact could be “ripe for a leveraged joint venture,” which would include selling half the company to a private equity firm and forming a new, highly leveraged joint-venture vehicle.
Pact is controlled by Raphael Geminder, whose wife, Fiona, is the daughter of Melbourne-based Visy Industries Pty. Ltd.'s former chairman Richard Pratt, who died in 2009. Before his death, Pratt consistently appeared on lists of Australia's richest men.
Visy is one of Australia's largest packaging manufacturers, producing more than 2 billion PET bottles and 2.5 billion PET preforms annually, plus a wide range of other plastic, cardboard and metal packaging products. In March 2012, it expanded through acquiring the Australian and New Zealand companies of the HP Industries Group, which has PET custom molding and high and low density polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC blow molding operations.
In April the Canberra-based competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, approved Pact's acquisition of Melbourne-based packaging and logistics solution group Viscount Plastics Pty. Ltd.
In 2010, Geminder appointed Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan to manage an initial public offering of the Pact business, but the proposal was later scrapped.