Rexam shares climb on $805m sale

British multinational packaging maker Rexam has announced this morning that Montagu Private Equity - a European firm - has agreed to pay $805m (£490m) in cash for its healthcare packaging unit.

The deal will see “around £450m” returned to shareholders.

The business in question has three divisions. Rexam added that it’s still in discussions over the sale of Closured and Containers - the third division - and will provide an update “in due course”.

The transaction is expected to complete around mid-2014 and is subject to consultation with various European work councils and regulatory approvals, said the firm.

The two divisions being sold employed 1,500 people in 2012 with sales of £250m and underlying operating profit of around £43m before central overheads. They account for about 85 per cent of total healthcare earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the company.

Rexam chief executive Graham Chipchase commented:

The Pharmaceutical Devices and Prescription Retail Packaging divisions represent the majority of the value of our Healthcare business.

Following the sale of Healthcare, we will be a focused beverage cans business with a strong financial position.

Our strategy is to balance growth and returns and we will continue to pursue selective investment opportunities in beverage cans in higher growth markets.

Shares are up 0.5 per cent on the news: