New Zealand’s Rank Group Weighs Selling Packaging Maker

(Bloomberg) -- Rank Group Ltd., the manufacturing conglomerate controlled by billionaire Graeme Hart, is considering a sale of Graham Packaging Co. after attracting interest from prospective buyers, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Auckland-based Rank has drawn preliminary interest from private equity and corporate suitors, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The packaging company could be worth about what Rank paid for it seven years ago, the people said. No decision has been made and Rank could elect to keep the business, they said.

Representatives for Rank and Graham, which is part of the firm’s Reynolds division, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hart, 63, acquired Graham in 2011 for $4.5 billion, ending Blackstone Group LP’s 13-year association with the company. The transaction was part of Hart’s decade-long buying spree in which he also purchased Swiss beverage carton maker SIG Combibloc and auto parts maker UCI International LLC. SIG was sold to Onex Corp. in 2015 and is now looking to list on the stock market, while UCI was put into bankruptcy and reorganized in 2016.

Graham, based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, makes custom blow-molded plastic containers for food and beverages, as well as for personal care and specialty products, according to its website. Last year, the company sold its plant in Etten-Leur in the Netherlands to Alpha Packaging, which is backed by Irving Place Capital.

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