Ardagh allowed to buy Saint-Gobain Containers after it sells six factories
Irish packaging giant Ardagh Group has won US competition approval to buy Verallia North America after agreeing to sell six of its nine US glass factories, according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The Commission, which investigated the deal to determine if it was legal under US antitrust law, had sued in July to block Dublin-based Ardagh's proposed $1.7bn (€1.2bn) acquisition of Saint-Gobain's US glass container business, Verallia North America.
The federal agency focused on a perceived risk that the original deal could have led to higher prices for beer and spirits bottles.
As part of its deal to settle the litigation, Ardagh will sell six of the nine plants that it acquired when it purchased Anchor Glass Container Corp in 2012.
The sales must be completed within six months to a buyer approved by the FTC.
Between them, Paul Coulson's (pictured) Ardagh and Saint-Gobain account for a significant share of the $5bn US market for glass containers.
The result, the FTC said, would be that Ardagh and main rival Owens-Illinois would account for three out of every four beer and spirit bottles used in the United States.
"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," Deborah Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.
Saint-Gobain, which is headquartered in France and has been around since 1665, agreed the deal to sell its North American glass container operation to Ardagh in January.
The French group is exiting the low-margin business to focus on higher-margin building materials. (Reuters)