Metal packaging offers ‘more options for expansion’

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European commission

European Commission approval for Ardagh Glass Group’s acquisition of Impress Metal Packaging could signal the start of further consolidation in the can sector. 

Niall Wall (pictured left), chief executive of the newly-formed Ardagh Group, told Food Manufacture: "The potential pipeline is greater on the can side, with less consolidation than in glass. Meanwhile, organic growth in both metal and glass is limited 1% annual growth is good."

He did not exclude the possibility of further acquisitions on the glass side, though. "There are a number of smaller glass manufacturers out there, and one or two significant ones, and we'll continue to be alive to every opportunity."

Wall estimated that some 60% of combined revenues from Ardagh's glass and metal businesses will come from the food and drink sector. Diversity is a key consideration for Ardagh. "Alongside segmental diversity, we now have packaging and geographic diversity," he explained. Unlike Ardagh Glass, Impress has significant interests outside Europe.

So could it follow the example of Rexam (whose glass business it bought in 2007) and diversify in a third direction towards plastics? "We never say 'never'," he pointed out, but added that the current focus was squarely on the new mix. "We particularly like glass and metal because they have similar qualities, not least their sustainable profile."

Of the two sides of the business, he said: "Glass and metal have a number of customers in common, such as Heineken, Nestlé, Heinz and Premier Foods, though we don't expect there to be huge opportunities for cross-selling."

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