Ball to buy Anheuser-Busch can plants

Ball Corp. has cleared plans to acquire part of the can-making capability of Anheuser-Busch InBev for a reported $577 million.

As part of its acquisition last year by InBev, Anheuser-Busch is divesting can-making plants in Rome, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio, and Ft. Atkinson, Wis., along with a can-end plant in Gainesville, Fla. Ball is paying for the acquisition through a bond issue.

The acquisition has passed through a mandatory waiting period without action from federal antitrust regulators, clearing the way for the deal to be closed by the end of September.

Anheuser-Busch InBev will retain seven can and can-end plants, which will be mostly dedicated to beer cans. Of the four plants bought by Ball, production has been about 35% beer cans and 65% soft drink cans, according to a Ball spokesperson. Ball expects that proportion to continue, selling the beer cans to Busch and the soft-drink cans to various beverage bottlers.

“We are pleased with this outcome and look forward to closing the acquisition and welcoming our new employees into Ball,” says R. David Hoover, Ball’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We have developed detailed integration plans which we will begin to implement immediately after closing. We expect the acquisition to be earnings accretive and cash flow positive for Ball and to earn a return in excess of our cost of capital.”


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