Saint-Gobain announces IPO sale of Verallia packaging arm

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

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Saint-Gobain confirmed yesterday it was in the first steps towards an initial public offering (IPO) of Verallia, its glass packaging arm.

The French firm has registered the document de base​ with the French Autorité des marchés financiers ​(AMF), the initial stage towards selling Verallia shares on the regulated market of NYSE Euronext in Paris.

Further developments are subject to market conditions and to the AMF’s approval of the offer prospectus.

A source close to the firm told the first stages would entail introducing Verallia to the industry and potential shareholders.

The Verallia brand, although well-known among packaging professionals, is still a relatively new as it was launched only last year, said the source.

Change of strategic focus

The announcement by Saint-Gobain did not come as a surpise to the industry, said the source.

As early as 2007 the firm said it had redefined its strategic focus to be totally dedicated to the habitat and construction markets.

But in 2008, CEO Pierre-Andre de Chalendar postponed an attempt to sell the unit because of the onset of the financial crisis.

Last October the firm said it was considering selling a minority stake in its Verallia business in an IPO sale.

“After three difficult years, the general business environment in 2011 is more likely to ensure that the packaging sector – which demonstrated its fundamental robustness during the crisis – will be valued at a price that reflects its true worth,” ​said Chalendar.

It was for this reason that the company was launching the procedure for a possible stock market listing and IPO. This would allow investors to participate in the development of the business, said the CEO.

A share sale may value Verallia at more than €4bn ($5.4 bn) two sources were reported as saying by Bloomberg this February.

With 2010 net combined sales of € 3.6bn, Verallia is the second largest player world wide in the glass bottles and jars market after Ohio-based Owens Illinois (O-I).

Verallia has a presence in 13 countries, manufacturing 25bn bottles and jars last year.

Related topics Processing & Packaging