Pretium Packaging announces completion of its merger with Novapak Corporation

ST. LOUIS (PRNewswire) -- Pretium Packaging LLC, a provider of custom blow molded packaging solutions with a primary focus in the food, pharmaceutical and personal care markets, in partnership with Castle Harlan Inc., a New York-based buy-out firm, and existing Pretium management, announces the completion of its merger with Novapak Corporation which was previously announced on January 18, 2010. The transaction is returning $8,572.42 per share in cash to holders of common stock in PVC Container Corporation, the parent company of Novapak.

The combined business will generate more than $240 million of blow molded bottle and injection molded pre-form sales to over 500 customers from 14 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Canada. The new entity will retain the name Pretium Packaging, be headquartered in Chesterfield, MO, and be managed by the current Pretium management team together with certain members of Novapak management.

Pretium's President and CEO George Abd stated, "We are very excited to realize the opportunity this combined enterprise presents. Both Pretium and Novapak have focused on small to medium volume, custom bottle applications. Much of both companies' recent growth has come in PET bottles. The advantage for both companies' customers is that while Pretium has invested significantly in one-step, wide mouth PET technology and assets, Novapak has made significant investment in two-step, narrow neck PET and pre-form manufacturing. The combination of these world-class assets and capabilities, will allow the merged company to offer our customers a full range of one-step and two-step PET bottles, as well as extrusion blow molding and injection blow molding alternatives in HDPE and PP. In addition, there is very little overlap between the two companies' current customers, enabling the company to now deliver a broader range of products and services to an already existing customer base. We are also thrilled to be aligned with Castle Harlan, which has a long history of partnering with management teams to realize shareholder value through superior customer service."


Clariant cuts jobs, moves factories as slump persists

February 16 (Bloomberg) -- Clariant AG, the world's biggest maker of printing-ink chemicals, will deepen job cuts and move some production to prepare for a year that will be ⌠similarly difficult to 2009.

Clariant will move its textile dyes and textile production from its headquarters in Muttenz, Switzerland to Asia, and paper-chemical production will move to Spain, it said today in a statement. The company will also partially close a factory in Brazil and shutter an Indian facility. The measures will lead to 500 job cuts in total, with 400 in Switzerland, Clariant said.

⌠Our performance still lags behind our peers, Chief Executive Officer Hariolf Kottman, who took over in September 2008, said on a conference call. ⌠Hence, we will decisively continue with our restructuring efforts in 2010, which we expect to be a similarly difficult year to 2009.

Clariant declined as much as 5.5 percent in Zurich, the biggest drop since Feb. 5. The plan for more job cuts follows a move last year to close production sites and reduce the number of employees to 17,500 as the global recession weighed on demand for chemicals used in dyes, plastic additives and pigments.

The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 68 million Swiss francs ($63.3 million) today, down from 207 million Swiss francs a year earlier.

Reorganizing the company will cost 200 million francs to 300 million francs this year, Clariant estimated. Sales in local currencies will rise in the ⌠low-single-digit range this year, while the margin on earnings before interest and taxes and exceptional items will likely rise above 6 percent, Clariant said. The margin was 4.1 percent in 2009.

Clariant estimates it can eek 80,000 francs to 100,000 francs on average for each job that it cuts, and the reductions will happen progressively over several quarters, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Jany said in an interview in Zurich.

Raw material costs will advance by 2 percent to 3 percent this year, and the company will offset that increase by raising its selling prices, the CFO said.

The stock fell as much as 63 centimes to 10.76 francs, and traded at 11.02 francs as of 12:43 p.m. The shares have lost 9 percent of their value this year.

⌠The new CEO has been aggressive and pro-active in cutting costs from the group and squeezing cash from all aspects of the business, Citigroup Global Markets analyst Andrew Benson said in a note. He recommends investors sell Clariant shares, because given the structural problems the group faces, we do not see scope for these shares to deliver value to shareholders.