RPC Group to buy rival firm Superfos

PLASTIC packaging maker RPC Group said yesterday it planned to buy its Danish rival Superfos for €240m (£204.7m) in a deal likely to boost its market share and expand its operations into new countries.

RPC said it would fund the acquisition through a rights issue and debt in the form of a new €130m term loan facility. RPC said it would issue five new shares for every eight existing shares at 143p a share – a 48 per cent discount to its Wednesday closing price. At 143p per share, RPC would raise around £88.8m, and approximately £85.3m net of expenses, it said.

The deal is expected to close in early February 2011.

RPC chief executive, Ron Marsh, said the deal would provide it with factories in Poland and Scandinavia and operations in Turkey and North Africa.

“This reunites RPC with its nine sister operations on the continent and gives us a pan-European network from which we can much better supply our pan-European customers,” Marsh said.

Superfos, which is owned by Nordic private equity firms IK Investment Partners and Ratos AB has over 1,300 employees. For the period ending 31 December 2009 the firm generated pre-tax profits of €22.9m on sales of €294.5m.

RPC expects the acquisition to “materially enhance” its earnings per share in the first full financial year post buyout.

CRISPIN WRIGHT

ROTHSCHILDS
RPC Group is being advised by Crispin Wright, a managing director at Rothschild. Among some of his other clients are the Lloyds of London insurance underwriters Hardy and De La Rue, the currency printer, which he advised over its rejection of a £900m takeover bid from rival Obethur Technologies.

Previously, Wright led a Rothschild team that helped the former brewer and pub group Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, now known as Marston’s, fend off a hostile bid from rival pub group Pubmaster.

He also advised Arriva on the bus and train group’s sale to German state railway Deutsche Bahn. Wright has advised airport operator BAA and is understood to have been involved in helping General Electric buy a quarter stake in Turkish bank Garanpi, and in selling IT services company Sema to Schlumberger for $2.5bn. He also advised P&O on its £3.5bn acquisition by Dubai Ports.