Graphic Packaging International yesterday said that its shareholders have approved the proposed merger with Riverwood Holdings, to form a global paperboard packaging company with estimated annual sales of $2.2 billion (€1.94bn).
The new company will be known as Graphic Packaging Corporation and will be headquartered in Marietta, Georgia. The deal is expected to close today.
As part of the arrangement, approximately 79 per cent of Graphic Packaging's common shares and 100 per cent of its preferred shares were voted for the merger during a special shareholders' meeting held today at the Company's headquarters, exceeding the 66.6 per cent required of each class to approve the transaction, Graham Packaging reported.
Riverwood shareholders will own 57.5 per cent of the new public company, with Graphic Packaging shareholders owning the rest.
"Today's vote demonstrates our stockholders' confidence in the value of this combination of two very complementary businesses," said Jeffrey Coors, chairman and chief executive officer. "Graphic Packaging is the leading US supplier of folding cartons to food and other consumer products companies, and Riverwood is a leading supplier of paperboard packaging for beverages. We expect this merger to provide the opportunity for synergies and improved efficiencies, a wider variety of products and services for our customers, and continued consolidation of the industry."
The proposed merger was originally announced on 26 March 2003. Coors will be executive chairman of the new company and Stephen M. Humphrey, currently president and chief executive officer of Riverwood, will be president and chief executive officer.
The merger will mean that the new company will have more leverage to expand into markets outside the US, ultimately giving it more leverage in its ambitions to become a more globally orientated entity.
Graphic Packaging International Corporation had a 2002 revenue of approximately $1.1 billion and is America's leading folding carton packaging supplier to the food, beverage and other consumable products markets. The company makes cartons for General Mills, Quaker Oats, Kraft Foods, Adolph Coors Co. and other companies. Coors family members are major stockholders.