UPDATE 2-Packaging maker RPC to buy Hong Kong firm in Asia push

Thu May 1, 2014 8:15am EDT

* To buy ACE Corporation Holdings for as much as $430 million

* Deal gives RPC access to five plants in China

* To pay initial sum of $301 mln, up to $129 mln over four years

* RPC stock rises 4 percent, among top FTSE-250 percentage gainers (Adds CEO comment, details, updates share movement)

By Tasim Zahid

May 1 (Reuters) - Britain's RPC Group Plc, one of the world's biggest plastic packaging makers, will buy Hong Kong-based ACE Corporation Holdings Ltd for as much as $430 million to meet growing demand from customers in Asia.

RPC's stock rose more than 4 percent on Thursday to rank among the top percentage gainers on the FTSE-250 Midcap Index .

RPC's first foray into Asia will give the company access to five manufacturing plants in China, including a site in the city of Hefei adjacent to Unilever Plc's biggest Chinese plant.

ACE Corporation makes products ranging from food and cosmetics packaging to remote-control keys for cars, waterproof iPad cases and syringes.

"Our customers have been pressing us for some time now to be able to deliver to them (in Asia) what we deliver to them in Europe," Chief Executive Pim Vervaat said in an interview.

"Until now, we did not have a manufacturing platform in China to follow it up."

Asia accounts for about 27 percent of the global rigid plastics packaging market, which was worth about $135 billion in 2013, according to a presentation on RPC's website. (link.reuters.com/daf98v)

Rushden, Northamptonshire-based RPC, which makes packaging for Nivea beauty products and Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee-machine capsules, said it would pay an initial sum of $301 million for ACE.

It will pay up to an additional $129 million should ACE record a compound annual growth rate of at least 15.6 percent in its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) over the four years ending Dec. 31, 2017.

RPC said it planned to fund the deal by issuing about 8.5 million new shares to ACE shareholders, as well as a placement to raise about 75 million pounds ($126.64 million), a new revolving credit facility and existing cash.

The acquisition is expected to boost earnings per share in the first full financial year after closing and result in annual pretax cost savings of at least 1 million pounds, RPC said.

ACE reported EBITDA of 24 million pounds on revenue of about 104 million pounds in 2013.

RPC's shares were up 2.5 percent at 614.99 pence on the London Stock Exchange at 1200 GMT. ($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds) (Additional reporting by Roshni Menon in Bangalore; Editing by Robin Paxton and Supriya Kurane)