UPDATE 2-Ball, Rexam to sell some can plants to get antitrust nod for merger

Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:13am EDT
 
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(Adds Ardagh statement, details, share movement)

April 25 (Reuters) - Beverage can makers Ball Corp and Rexam Plc will sell some of their assets to European packaging maker Ardagh Group in a deal worth $3.42 billion, as they seek antitrust clearance for their planned merger.

The deal would include the sale of about a fifth of the companies' combined can making or producing plants across Europe, Brazil and the United States, Ball said in a statement on Monday.

The companies will also sell certain innovation and support functions in these regions, Ball said, which would put it on track to close the Rexam deal by the end of June.

Ball agreed to buy British rival Rexam for 4.43 billion pounds ($6.35 billion) last year to improve efficiency and cut costs through a merger of the world's two largest beverage can makers by volume, which supply Coca-Cola Co and Anheuser-Busch InBev.

However, the deal earlier ran foul with European antitrust regulators as it would give the enlarged entity considerable market share in Europe, the United States and Brazil.

The two companies account for 60 percent of beverage can supply in North America, 69 percent in Europe and 74 percent in Brazil, according to Morningstar analysts.

The European Commission cleared the deal in January, subject to the divestment of 12 plants.

The divestment to Ardagh includes 12 plants in Europe, eight in the United States and two in Brazil. After the deal closes, Ball will have 75 metal can manufacturing facilities and joint ventures.   Continued...