France: Glass maker Verallia goes public

Verallia, third largest global producer of glass packaging for food and beverages, announced on Thursday to start a process for an initial public offering in Paris, which could value the company about EUR 4.5 billion (USD 5 bn) including debt. The IPO will be the largest new listing in France this year. Current owner, U.S. investment company Apollo announced to keep a controlling stake in the company.

In 2018, Verallia achieved sales of EUR 2.4 billion (USD 2.65 bn) and produced approximately 16 billion bottles and jars intended mainly for still and sparkling wines, spirits, food products, beers and nonalcoholic beverages. The company has an industrial presence in 11 countries and operates 32 glass production facilities, 5 technical and 13 product development centers.

Formerly being part of French construction materials maker Saint-Gobain, Verallia was sold in 2016 to U.S. investment company Apollo for about EUR 3 billion (USD 3.3 bn).

“The IPO will enable the company to increase its visibility among its customers and partners and provide it with greater flexibility to seize future growth opportunities,” Verallia’s chairman and CEO Michel Giannuzzi said in a press statement.

Market leader in container glass products is Owens-Illinois (O-I), a Fortune 500 company with 77 glass manufacturing plants in 23 countries with sales of USD 6.9 billion based in Perrysburg, Ohio. Approximately one of every two glass containers made worldwide is made by O-I, its affiliates, or its licensees.

Second in container glas is Ardagh Group, a Luxembourg-based producer of glass and metal products that has grown under the lead of Irish tycoon Paul Coulson, who acquired an initial stake in 1998, in the past two decades from a small Irish glass bottle maker into one of the world’s largest metal and glass packaging companies. The company achieved last year sales of slightly more than USD 9 billion. Ardagh operates over 100 facilities in 22 countries across 5 continents, employing approximately 23,000 people.

In July it became known, that Ardagh plans to spin off its food and speciality metal business in a $2.5bn deal. Through a merger with aluminium container maker Exal Corporation it is intended to create one of the biggest metal packaging companies in the world in which Ardagh will hold 43 percent while the remaining 57 percent remain with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, the current owner of Exal.

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