Friday, February 17, 2006

Ball Corp. Acquires Aerosol Can Manufacturer

Ball Corp. Acquires Aerosol Can Manufacturer
By Nathan Halverson

FAIRFIELD - Denver-based Ball Corp., which has manufacturing operations in Fairfield, acquired the largest manufacturer of aerosol cans in the United States.

Ball (NYSE: BLL) bought U.S. Can Corp.'s United States and Argentinean operations for about 1.1 million shares of Ball stock and the repayment of $550 million of U.S. Can's debt.

Ball's stock closed at $42.15 Wednesday, up about 10 percent, after the deal was announced late Tuesday. Trading volume of the shares almost tripled on Wednesday compared to daily averages.

Shareholders of U.S. Can will retain ownership of its European operations.

The transaction is expected to be finalized by the end of March, according to a Ball Corp. statement.

U.S. Can also manufactures paint cans, plastic containers and custom cans in 10 plants across the United States and two plants in Argentina. The company employs 2,300 people and had sales of about $600 million in 2004.

"U.S. Can will add to our portfolio of rigid packaging products and provide us a meaningful position in a sizable market," said R. David Hoover, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ball Corp., in a statement. "Further, we expect to realize certain cost reductions as a result of synergies between U.S. Can's operations and those of our existing packaging business, particularly our metal food container operations."

The Ball plant in Fairfield manufacturers metal beverage containers such as beer cans.

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