Bottle Makers Pop a Cork


Plastic blow-molder Graham Packaging Co. said last week that it has agreed to buy the plastics container business unit of Owens-Illinois Inc. for $1.2 billion. The acquisition would more than double the size of one of the biggest suppliers of motor oil bottles.

We have long admired Owens-Illinois, said Philip R. Yates, chairman and CEO of Graham Packaging. O-Is plastics container business is a good match with Graham Packaging in terms of its emphasis on technology, commitment to high quality, and its culture of customer service.

Graham, which is based in York, Pa., is already one of the biggest suppliers of plastic packaging for lubricants. It had worldwide sales of $1 billion during the past 12 months and has said in the past that motor oil bottles and other lubricant containers account for approximately one-fourth of its business.

Owens-Illinois is based in Toledo, Ohio, and is the worlds largest manufacturer of glass containers. The plastics unit employs more than 5,000 people and had sales of $1.1 billion in 2003. Its customers include marketers of foods and beverages, household and personal care products as well as chemicals. In the automotive industry it makes plastic bottles for materials such as brake fluid, fuel additives and de-icers.

The business that Graham is buying has 31 plants – 24 of them in the United States, the others in Mexico, South America and Europe. Graham already has 57 plants throughout the same regions.

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