Ardagh buys Anchor Glass for 721 mln euros

DUBLIN, July 17 (Reuters) - Irish bottle and packaging maker Ardagh Group bought Anchor Glass Container Corp for 721 million euros ($881 million)on Tuesday, boosting its presence in the United States as part of a plan to list there when market conditions permit.

Ardagh, whose customers include Coca-Cola, Diageo and Nestle, said it will raise $920 million debt to buy Anchor from private investment funds managed by Wayzata Investment Partners and refinance its existing debt.

Ardagh said the purchase of the third-largest glass container manufacturer in the United States would increase the size of its glass business almost 50 percent.

“The acquisition is a very significant step in developing our operations in the U.S. It will result in approximately 25 percent of Ardagh’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) being generated in the U.S.,” chairman Paul Coulson said.

Founded in Ireland in 1932 and now headquartered in Luxembourg, Ardagh had planned a U.S. listing in the third quarter of last year but postponed its IPO due to volatile market conditions.

The group, which had not indicated how much it planned to raise in the float, said on Tuesday it was committed to raising equity as soon as practicable following the closing of the Anchor Glass transaction and it still planned a public listing.

Standard & Poor’s said it might cut Ardagh’s B+ long-term credit rating, given that the new debt needed to fund the deal would slow the pace of deleveraging.

Ardagh said revenue for the quarter to end-June would be slightly ahead year-on-year and EBITDA would likely be lower by a mid-to-high single-digit percentage.