Owens-Illinois In Joint Venture With Thailand Firm

Glass packaging maker said it is teaming with Thai company Berli Jucker to buy four plants that make beverage and food containers in China and Southeast Asia.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio (AP) -- Glass packaging maker Owens-Illinois Inc. said Friday that it is teaming with a Thai company to buy four plants that make beverage and food containers in China and Southeast Asia.

The joint venture of Owens-Illinois and Thailand\'s Berli Jucker Public Co. signed a deal to buy Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd.\'s Malaya Glass plants in Sichuan Province, China; Saraburi Province, Thailand; Johor Bahru, Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The plants make containers for the beer, nonalcoholic beverage and food markets and employ about 1,900 people.

The joint venture is buying the plants for $221.7 million, according to a news release. Owens-Illinois will pay $132.4 million of the total.

The Malaysia and Vietnam plants will be operated by a joint venture owned 50 percent by Owens-Illinois and 50 percent by Berli Jucker, the companies said. The acquired interest in the Chinese plant will be managed as part of Owens-Illinois\' existing China operations. Berli Jucker will assume majority ownership of the Thai operation.

Owens-Illinois Chairman and CEO Al Strucken said the deal fits his company\'s objective of seeking "a leadership position in China and Southeast Asia."

He said the plant in Sichuan expands its presence in China, while the joint venture give it a competitive position in the growing markets in Vietnam and Malaysia.

"We expect to see an immediate positive impact on our earnings as a result of this acquisition," he said.

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