RPC plus PCR helps equal the biggest acquisition in one company's history.
Berry Global Group Inc.'s pending takeover of Rushden, England-based RPC Group plc will greatly expand that company and provide a much larger position in plastics recycling.
Part of the attraction for Berry and its $4.37 billion move for RPC specifically is the firm's involvement in resin recycling efforts, especially in Europe, CEO Tom Salmon said.
Berry has grown significantly over the years, and RPC will add billions more to annual sales, but the company has not been particularly known for its work in the recycling segment of the business.
Berry recently made news with the introduction of its Verdant line of recycled-based plastic packaging, a move to pull together and showcase the company's work in that area.
Acquiring RPC brings additional recycling expertise to Evansville, Ind.-based Berry, Salmon said.
"RPC is an innovator in the plastics recycling space. Through its BPI business, the company is a leading European recycler of flexible plastics. RPC continues to develop new products incorporating recycled material and products made from biopolymers," he said during a recent conference call to discuss the acquisition.
"The combination of this core competitive advantage will create a global platform for shareholder value creation," Salmon continued.
BPI, once known as British Polythene Industries, was acquired by RPC in 2016. The company recycles more than 80,000 tons of agricultural, industrial, commercial and residential film each year. That material helps the company make about 300,000 tons of new PE film each year.
BPI is one of Europe's largest PE film recyclers.
It was just last fall that Salmon spoke extensively about the new Verdant line, which uses up to 100 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin for a variety of containers.
"It's a readily available raw material that we can design and incorporate into our products," Salmon said during an interview with Plastics News. "It simply makes good sense for the environment. We continue to be steadfast that plastic is the most versatile raw material on the planet. It makes people's lives better every day.
"For us to ultimately make good use of that valuable resource and reuse it where appropriate, it makes all the sense in the world," he said.
The Verdant line includes bottles, tubes, jars and closures, all with PCR content. It is designed to have the same characteristics as packaging made from virgin resin.
"Our belief is, clearly, let's go out and find ways to promote the use of [PCR], build a business case for reinvestment so that we can convert more otherwise landfillable scrap into products to increase the amount of material available," Salmon said. This, in turn, will bring down costs and promote additional use.
"The marketplace wants a better recyclable story," he said.
Berry, thanks to a string of acquisitions in recent years and over time, has grown into a company with $7.9 billion in annual sales. The acquisition of RPC will add another $4.8 billion in annual sales to push the combined operations to almost $13 billion annually.
RPC makes plastic products in "all five major conversion processes," the company says in its annual report: injection molding, blow molding, thermoforming, rotational molding and blown film extrusion.
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.