AUSTRALIA - Amcor, US packaging company Bemis, and private equity deal mongers Apollo Global Management and Bain Capital LLC have been cited as parties interested in the Alcan packaging operations which Rio Tinto is trying to sell.
These companies have been linked to the auction Morgan Stanley is running for the global packaging operations that Rio Tinto gained in its 2007 US$38 billion Alcan acquisition, Reuters reported.
The price tag for the unit, which includes flexible, pharmaceutical and tobacco packaging, has dropped from its initial US$6 billion to US$5 billion. The packaging unit generates approximately US$6 billion in revenue annually, is headquartered in Paris and has 31,000 employees in 129 sites around the world. The second round of bidding is expected to close on 30 September
PackWebasia.com reported in July 2008 that industry sources have indicated Rio Tinto is now willing to sell the Alcan packaging division in a few pieces, rather than as a whole unit, to help facilitate a transaction.
The mining group is trying to raise US$15 billion or more from asset sales to lower the US$40 billion debt it took to buy the entire Alcan company. Besides the packaging unit, Rio Tinto mining assets such as its Cortez gold mine in Nevada, the Kintyre uranium deposit in Australia and the Alaskan Green Creek silver project have also been marked for sale.
Amcor completed a three-year “get fit” program last month to fix, sell or close underperforming assets – it has sold assets in Europe, including its flexible packaging plants in UK and Sweden, and indicated that it is concentrating more on emerging, lower-cost locations.
During the announcement of the program completion, Ken MacKenzie, Amcor’s Chief Executive, said that the company is now looking for acquisitions in the flexibles, tobacco and PET plastic bottle sector. At the time, MacKenzie declined to confirm any purchasing interest in the Rio Tinto packaging operations.
Rio Tinto, Amcor, and Bemis were not immediately available for comment. Apollo and Bain have declined comment.