Wendel to buy $2.8 bln packaging firm Constantia Flexibles-Reuters

(Reuters) – French investment group Wendel said on Tuesday it had agreed to acquire Constantia Flexibles in a deal that values the Austrian packaging company at 2.3 billion euros ($2.8 billion).

Wendel did not disclose how big a stake it was buying in the company but said in a statement that it aimed to close the transaction in the first half of 2015.

Wendel said its offer valued Constantia Flexibles at around nine times the company’s estimated 2014 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

“Once the transaction is complete, Wendel intends to support Constantia Flexibles over the long term as the majority shareholder alongside significant minority shareholders,” it said in a statement.

Unlisted Vienna-based Constantia Flexibles makes foil, paper and plastic-film packaging and labels for the food, pharmaceutical and beverage industries. The group has more than 8,000 employees and posted sales of 1.6 billion euros in 2013.

Reuters had reported last month that buyout group One Equity Partners (OEP) had relaunched the company’s sale one year after attempts to list it on the stock exchange failed.

Rival buyout groups such as CVC, Cinven, Permira and EQT had expressed their interest in the sale, people familiar with the matter said.

Wendel said this acquisition was a significant milestone in its 2013-2017 strategy of investing 2 billion euros in “top-tier unlisted companies in Africa, North America and Europe.”

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