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US: Ardagh Group strikes deal with FTC over Saint-Gobain unit buy

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Ardagh Group has agreed to sell six US glass container production sites to appease anti-trust concerns over its US$1.7bn acquisition of fellow glassmaker Saint-Gobain’s US unit, Verallia.

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said yesterday (10 April) that it has settled on the “remedy” with Luxembourg-headquartered Ardagh that will create a “strong, independent third competitor” in the US market. The FTC launched an adminstrative complaint last July over the deal which it argued would harm competition in the glass container market, resulting in higher costs for brewers, distillers and consumers.

Ardagh, whose customers include Anheuser-Busch InBev and the Coca-Cola Co, was due to complete the deal in January. However, this was delayed as the FTC was still examining the merger.

The FTC’s proposed settlement order means Ardagh must sell six of the manufacturing plants and related assets it inherited through its 2012 acquisition of Anchor Glass Container Corp, along with Anchor’s former corporate headquarters in Tampa, Florida.

The six plants are in: Elmira, New York; Jacksonville, Florida; Warner Robins, Georgia; Henryetta, Oklahoma; Lawrenceburg, Indiana; and Shakopee, Minnesota. 

The sale must be completed within six months to an FTC-approved buyer, the agency said.

“The proposed order creates a strong, independent third competitor that fully replaces the competition - in both the beer and spirits glass container markets - that would have been lost had the merger proceeded,” said Deborah Feinstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.

Ardagh Group has 100 glassmaking facilties globally, with annual sales of around EUR4.15bn (US$5.8bn).


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