Amcor, the fast-growing Australian packaging group, has confirmed that it is to buy most of the assets of Schmalbach-Lubeca, its German rival, in a $1.56 billion (€1.7bn) deal that will more than double its sales, making it one of the top three groups of its kind in the world.
Amcor said it had agreed to buy the PET (polyethylene terephthelate) plastic bottle and caps and lids business of the Dusseldorf-based group, which is 97 per cent controlled by Allianz, the German financial services group, and Eon, the German utility.
"This clearly transforms us into a global packaging group in a serious way because we have market leadership globally in PET," said Russell Jones, chief executive of the Melbourne-based group.
Schmalbach is the world's largest manufacturer of PET containers and the market leader in North America, Europe and Latin America with sales last year of €2.9 billion.
It is also selling to Amcor its smaller food and drink closures business, which had 2001 sales of €495 million.
But Schmalbach said it would retain its beverage can business, which is ranked number two in Europe and recorded sales last year of about €1 billion.
The deal follows a string of international acquisitions by Amcor, totalling A$1.3 billion (€772m) since the start of last year. But this is by far its largest move and will lift sales by 50 per cent to more than A$10 billion and its share of revenues earned outside Australia to 80 per cent.
Analysts welcomed the deal, which they said was strategically sound and, at less than seven times last year's EBITDA, competitively priced.