The pace of plastics dealmaking was fast and furious in the second half of 2018.
Although the number of deals declined overall, several big transactions were made and some buyers dove into the market more than once.
The biggest deal took place was in flexible packaging, where Amcor Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, acquired Bemis Co. Inc. of Neenah, Wis., in a $6.8 billion all-stock deal. Market watchers said that Amcor sees the deal as a way to significantly expand its flexible packaging business in the Americas and that Bemis sees an opportunity to hitch itself to the stability of a larger company after spending recent years trying to turn its business around.
Officials with both firms said at the time of the announcement that the deal is "transformational," giving Amcor a global flexible packaging presence when combined with its existing operations.
The ongoing buying spree of Westfall Technik Inc. also drew notice. The Chandler, Ariz.-based firm made three second-half deals and now has made 10 overall since being launched by injection molding veteran Brian Jones in late 2017.
Westfall's second-half deals included Georgetown, Ontario-based Mold Hotrunner Solutions Inc., which makes hot runners and injection presses for micromolding, mold maker Extreme Tool & Engineering Inc. of Wakefield, Mich., and the North American operations of media packaging firm Amaray, including injection molding factories, in Pittsfield, Mass., and Elizabethtown, Ky.
Financial pro Thomas Blaige said that the plastics market could see more Westfall-type rollups in the years ahead.
"There could be a Brian Jones in blow molding or thermoforming or other areas," said Blaige, chairman and CEO of Blaige & Co. in Chicago. "Someone with experience knows how to find high-value companies."
Such rollups "can create value if their integration is done in the right way," added David Evatz, managing director with Stout Risius Ross LLC in Chicago.
Other major second-half plastics deals included:
• Fiberon LLC, a leading producer of composite-based decking, railing and fencing, was acquired by Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. in a deal valued at $470 million. Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune will now place Fiberon, of New London, N.C., in its newly formed doors and security unit.
• Rowmark LLC, a maker of engineered extruded plastic sheet, changed hands when its parent firm — EXT Acquisitions Inc. — was sold by private equity firm Bertram Capital to PE firm Windjammer Capital Investors.
• Plastic sheet giant Plaskolite LLC of Columbus, Ohio, was sold to investment firm PPC Partners by a unit of Charlesbank Capital Partners for an undisclosed price. Chicago-based PPC is majority-owned by the Pritzker family, including J.B. Pritzker, who was elected governor of Illinois on Nov. 6. Plaskolite has enjoyed rapid growth, making 16 acquisitions in 11 years.
Less than a month after being acquired, Plaskolite made its fourth deal of 2018, acquiring the extruded lighting sheet and profile lens business of ALP Lighting Components Inc. for an undisclosed price.
• Consolidated Container Co. expanded its operations with the purchase of Deltapac Packaging. Montreal-based Deltapac makes high density polyethylene bottles for specialty chemical, cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical applications. The acquisition of Deltapac was made through Reid Canada, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based CCC.
Consolidated also in the second half bought Canadian firms Polybottle Group Ltd. and Humberline Packaging Inc. Those firms have bottle-making plants in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton, Alberta. Both Polybottle and Humberline had been owned by ABC Group Inc. of Toronto.
• Building products makers Ply Gem Parent LLC, which serves the residential market, and NCI Building Systems Inc., which sells to the commercial market, combined forces in an all-stock deal to create a one-stop solution for exterior building envelopes.