Ball Selling Packaging Unit To Amcor For $280M

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) -- Metal and plastic packaging supplier Ball Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to sell its U.S.-based plastic packaging business to Australian packaging company Amcor Ltd. for $280 million.

The deal includes five factories employing about 1,000 workers, customer contracts and other related assets, Ball said. The plants are located in Ames, Iowa; Batavia, Ill.; Bellevue, Ohio; Chino, Calif.; and Delran, N.J. They make polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and other products.

Research and development operations for the plants are based in Broomfield and Westminster in Colorado.

In the 12 months that ended March 28, the unit had revenue of $589 million and earnings before interest and taxes of $10 million. For all of 2009, the unit posted $635 million in revenue.

The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter pending regulatory approval. Ball will book a charge of $80 million after taxes to reflect the declining value of its assets.

Ball also announced a plan to buy back up to 12 million of its shares. The authorization amount replaces all other authorizations.

Ball shares closed up $1.30, or 2.5 percent, at $53.44 on Tuesday before the announcement.

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