Rexam Sells Unit to Apollo-Owned Berry Plastics

European drinks can maker Rexam is selling its lid-making business to private equity-backed Berry Plastics for $360 million, Reuters reported. Berry Plastics, a manufacturer majority-owned by U.S. private equity firm Apollo, expects to close on the cash deal during the third quarter of this year.

(Reuters) – Europe’s largest drinks can maker Rexam said it had agreed to sell its lid-making business to Berry Plastics for $360 million as it looks to reduce net debt.

The cash sale of the unit to Berry Plastics, a manufacturer majority-owned by U.S. private equity firm Apollo, is expected to be completed in Rexam’s third-quarter.

In a statement on Monday Rexam said the business, which makes lids for drink and food containers for the North American market, reported a pretax loss last year of 177 million pounds ($288 million).

Rexam, which reported net debt of 1.68 billion pounds at the end of 2010, said it planned to reduce its plastic packaging operations at an expected exceptional charge of around 25 million pounds.

Shares in the company, which is worth around 3.3 billion pounds, opened 0.64 percent down at 375.4 pence at 0709 GMT in London on Monday.

($1 = 0.615 British Pounds) (Reporting by Neil Maidment, Editing by Lorraine Turner)