State’s largest private company plans to go public

The state's largest private company plans to go public.

Evansville-based Berry Plastics Group Inc., a container maker owned by funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC, on Friday filed to sell up to $500 million of stock in an initial public offering.

Proceeds of the sale will be used to repay debt and for general corporate purposes, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The amount of the offering may change. The company did not disclose how many shares it plans to issue or their expected price.

Apollo will continue to hold a majority of the voting rights after the share sale, it said.

Berry Plastics was founded in Indiana in 1967. It had revenue of $4.4 billion in fiscal year 2010. The company manufactures products including plastic containers, packaging, tapes and films.

Berry Plastics posted a loss of $299 million for the fiscal year ended Oct. 1, down from a $113 million loss a year earlier, as expenses grew faster than sales. Long-term debt as of Dec. 31 was $4.5 billion.

The company said it has acquired more than 30 packaging businesses since 1988, with 10 deals completed in the past five years. It has more than 16,000 employees, according to the filing with more than 2,000 of those in Indiana.

Apollo, based in New York, and Graham Partners Inc. agreed to acquire Berry’s parent, BPC Holding Corp., in a $2.25 billion deal in 2006 from the private-equity units of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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