Greendale Glass Factory To Be Sold In Regulatory Deal
By Mike Perleberg
(Greendale, Ind.) – A local factory is going up for sale in order to prevent two companies from controlling too large a share of the glass container market in the United States.
Luxembourg-based Ardagh Group purchased the former Anchor Glass factory on Ridge Avenue in Greendale in 2012.
In an April 10 statement from the Federal Trade Commission, Ardagh Group is looking to acquire Saint-Gobain Containers Inc. for $1.7 billion. Such an acquisition would likely harm competition in the markets for beer and spirits bottles.
Along with Owens-Illinois, Inc., the companies would have controlled about 85 percent of the glass container market for beer brewers and 77 percent of the market for liquor distillers, reducing competition and likely leading to higher prices for customers that purchase beer or spirits glass containers, according to the FTC.
The FTC first challenged the merger last July, arguing in federal court that the merger would have concentrated most of the $5 billion U.S. glass container industry to only Ardagh-Saint-Gobain and Owens-Illinois. An agreement has been reached on a 3-1 FTC vote that that will allow the merger to earn regulatory approval.
“The remedy we achieved in this matter reflects the Commission’s willingness to litigate on behalf of consumers until all competitive concerns have been addressed,” said Deborah Feinstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, in the statement. “The proposed order creates a strong, independent third competitor that fully replaces the competition—in both the beer and spirits glass container markets—that would have been lost had the merger proceeded.”
The Greendale plant is among six plants to be sold by Ardagh. The others are in Elmira, New York; Jacksonville, Florida; Warner Robins, Georgia; Henryetta, Oklahoma; and Shakopee, Minnesota.
No buyer for the plants is being identified by Ardagh or the FTC yet. Ardagh has six months to sell them to a buyer approved by the FTC, or else the planned merger agreement could fall through.
According to online publication Law 360, Ardagh and the FTC announced in February that an investment bank was marketing the assets that Ardagh was willing to part with, in order to find buyers for the plants. Multiple potential buyers had initial indications of interest, the agency and company said.
Ardagh will retain three other glass manufacturing factories.