The week that was

News in the metal packaging industry is a lot like London buses; you wait ages for a story, then three come along at once. It’s safe to say that the last week or so has seen some significant news for this industry.

By now I’m sure you’ve read the news that Ball and Platinum Equity have entered into a joint venture to form Ball Metalpack, which will now be a standalone company manufacturing steel containers for a number of sectors in the US. Platinum Equity will have a majority share of 51%.

In return, Ball will receive $600 million in pre-tax proceeds, and still have a 49% interest in the venture. I’m sure Ball’s shareholders were pleased with the news, which will allow for a share buyback in 2018, and the repurchase of stock by Ball Corporation. Our former editorial board member Jim Peterson will be in charge of the Ball Metalpack team, and we wish him well with the project.

In our next issue we’ll provide all the essential analysis behind the deal, so be sure to read our July/August issue., which will be available soon.

In the steel market, the pack has been shuffled further, with the news of the merger between Tata and ThyssenKrupp in Europe, with a 50/50 joint venture. In the UK, the issue of Tata’s UK workers, particularly in its Port Talbot plant in Wales, has been a political pawn on both sides of the political spectrum. Throw Brexit into the mix, and it has meant this has been two years in the offing.

With the steel industry facing the prospect of tariffs, the added competitiveness of a global steel ‘super giant’ is one that makes sense; not least the fact that it should save a large portion of the 8,500 Tata UK workers. Some good news indeed.

Tucked away under these two stories was another packaging bombshell, with the news that Bosch is looking for a buyer for its packaging machinery business, specifically the food units of its packaging technology division.

As ever with these things, I suspect a buyer is not too far away, and this news announcement is a little PR spin, to let the potential buyer know to get its house in order.

What the fallout will be from these three significant news stories is too early to say, but one thing for sure is that mergers and acquisitions are never too far away. As ever, we look forward to hearing your thoughts, so please get in touch.

Happy 4 July to our US reader; I hope you have an enjoyable public holiday.

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