Acquisition forms Evansville plastics giant

March 13, 2007

An Evansville-based maker of plastic cups has absorbed another plastics company to form what might be the continent’s largest plastic packaging firm.

Berry Plastics Group Inc. announced yesterday it had merged with Covalence Specialty Materials Holding Corp. of Bedminster, N.J., in a stock swap arranged by the owner of both companies, the New York private equity firm Apollo Management.

Berry specializes in manufacturing plastic cups like those used by fast-food restaurants, while Covalence focuses on flexible packaging including Rhino-X trash bags and Film-Gard plastic sheets.

The combined New Berry Holding will generate $3.1 billion in sales with nearly 14,000 employees at 62 facilities. The companies would not place a value on the deal, which is expected to close in April.

New Berry will be headquartered in Evansville, although little change in headcount is expected.

Berry employs about 1,100 in Evansville, the vast majority of whom are blue-collar workers. Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jeff Thompson said some managerial jobs might be lost as costs are squeezed out.

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