Mauser Buying Russell-Stanley


German packaging supplier Mauser Group announced last week that it has reached an agreement to acquire Russell-Stanley Holdings Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of steel drums and plastic containers for North Americas lubricant industry.

Mauser officials said the deal will allow the company to consolidate its position in North America. It already operates six production sites in the United States. In addition, Russell-Stanleys plastic drum business has for 20 years been based on a manufacturing license from Mauser.

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This acquisition enables us to supply our U.S. customers with an expanded range of products and a nationwide coverage of all key locations, said Chief Executive Officer Stefan Mller-Arends.

Mauser, which is based in Bruhl, Germany, said it plans to keep Russell-Stanleys management team in place and to have the business continue operating in the same manner after the acquisition is completed.

Concurrent with the Aug. 22 announcement, Russell-Stanley said it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code, along with a pre-packaged plan of reorganization already endorsed by creditors. Russell-Stanley said it took those steps to effectuate the asset purchase by Mauser. Chapter 11 protection is normally sought by financially troubled companies seeking protection from creditors while they restructure their businesses. Both Russell-Stanley and Mauser stressed that Russell-Stanley is financially sound and will continue fulfilling obligations to customers during the acquisition process.

The transaction is subject to a variety of conditions and is not expected to close until autumn. It represents the latest step in a buy-and-build strategy pursued by Mauser. The company, which claims to be the worlds second largest packaging supplier, bought Italian intermediate bulk container maker Mamor S.p.A. last September.

Based in Bridgewater, N.J., Russell-Stanley is North Americas largest manufacturer of plastic drums and second largest maker of steel drums. With a staff of 850 employees, it posted sales of $278 million in 2004. It operates 10 production sites in the United States and two in Canada.

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