THE COMPETITION Tribunal on Friday gave the go-ahead for Luxembourg-based Ardagh Group’s $1 billion (R15bn) acquisition of South African firm Consol Holdings to go ahead.
Consol is South Africa’s biggest glass-packaging manufacturer.
The deal was announced in November last year.
The tribunal had approved the proposed transaction subject to conditions, including broad-based black economic empowerment worker ownership, employment, investment in capacity, glass recycling,the production of dining glassware and the manufacture of food jars.
Ardagh said the acquisition, which included net debt assumed in Consol, represented a significant inward investment into the South African and other markets in which Consol operated, with a further R3 billion investment program in two new furnaces.
This would create more than 250 direct jobs, with significant ancillary supply-chain expenditure resulting from these projects.
Ardagh also said it was committed to a third furnace investment at its Nigel facility in Gauteng, which would add to the existing N2 expansion project due for start-up in May.
Paul Coulson, the chairman and CEO of Ardagh, said, “By combining Ardagh’s global reach with Consol’s know-how on the African continent, we are very well-positioned to partner with our customers to meet the growing consumer demand in Africa for premium, sustainable glass packaging.”
Ardagh’s acquisition of Consol would enable further opportunities for future investment in glass manufacturing in Africa.
In the year to June 30, 2021, Consol reported R9bn in revenues with South Africa representing 90 percent of revenues, with the balance represented by smaller production facilities in Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
Following the acquisition of Consol, Ardagh would operate 65 production facilities in 16 countries, on four continents, employ roughly 20 000 people and have annual sales approaching $10bn.
On completion of the acquisition, Mike Arnold stepped down as CEO of the business following a very successful 20-year tenure in that role.
Ardagh said Arnold would become a director of Ardagh Glass Packaging Holdings Africa and would be part of the Ardagh executive team responsible for growing Ardagh’s presence in Africa.
Paul Curnow, previously CEO designate, had succeeded Mike Arnold as CEO. He would also become a director of Ardagh Glass Packaging Holdings Africa.
Bruce MacRobert, the former chairman of Consol, who had become the chairman of Ardagh Glass Packaging Holdings Africa, said “Ardagh’s investment in Consol and in the expansion of glass production in Africa is testament to Ardagh’s faith in the Consol team and in Africa’s potential.”
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