Bemis acquisition of Alcan food business delayed

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcan packaging food Rio tinto group

Bemis has put back the date it expects to receive regulatory approval for the acquisition of the Food Americas division of Alcan Packaging.

Flexible packaging firm Bemis had expected to gain regulatory approval in the US by the end of 2009 but now management expects the $1.2bn deal to be completed in “early 2010”.

Under the acquisition proposals announced in July, 23 Food Americas facilities will change hands in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and New Zealand.


But the US Department of Justice has expressed concern about the impact of the deal on competition under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. In September, Bemis said it was cooperating with a “second request” for data on the acquisition.

Now the company said discussions with staff at the Department of Justice on its pending acquisition of the Alcan Packaging Food Americas are still on going.

In a statement released just before New Year, Bemis said: “These discussions include remedies which management believes would resolve the concerns expressed by the Department of Justice about the transaction.”

Areas of concern

An analyst from Robert W. Baird said in September that the talks could suggest that Bemis may have to divest some of its operations to gain approval to buy Alcan.

In a note to investors, Ghansham Panjabi said: “We believe that the area of particular interest relates to Bemis likely dominating the market for packaged meats and cheeses.”

Bemis is looking to buy Alcan Packaging Food Americas from mining giant Rio Tinto, which is also selling off the other parts of Alcan Packaging. In December, Rio Tinto formally accepted the offer from Amcor to buy Alcan Packaging for US$2.025bn.

The deal includes Alcan Food Europe and Food Asia divisions, as well as its global pharmaceutical and tobacco operations. European and US antitrust authorities have both approved the acquisition.

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