UPDATE 1-Berry Plastics shares drop nearly 5 pct in public debut

Thu Oct 4, 2012 10:16am EDT

By Olivia Oran

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Shares of Berry Plastics Group Inc fell almost 5 percent in their stock market debut on Thursday.

The shares opened at $15.25 on the New York Stock Exchange after the Evansville, Indiana-based company priced its initial public offering at $16 per share, the low end of the expected range of $16 to $18. Berry Plastics sold 29.4 million shares Wednesday night, raising $470.4 million.

Berry Plastics, backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, is one of a handful of companies Apollo has been trying to take public this year. Apollo's real estate services firm, Realogy, is set to price its $1 billion IPO next week.

Berry Plastics, whose products include bottles, food containers and plastic cutlery, had debt of $4.58 billion as of June 30, giving it a net debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) leverage ratio of roughly 5.8, which is significantly higher than its peers.

Others companies that have priced IPOs this week, including theft and fraud protection services provider LifeLock Inc and materials technology company Luxfer Holdings Plc , also priced below expectations.

The Berry Plastics IPO was led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Barclays and Deutsche Bank.

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