Saint-Gobain looks at options to divest packaging unit

French glass and building materials group Saint-Gobain SA is studying three different options for divesting its packaging unit, including the sale of the unit to a grouping of an industrial partner an…

French glass and building materials group Saint-Gobain SA is studying three different options for divesting its packaging unit, including the sale of the unit to a grouping of an industrial partner and a fund, French daily Les Echos reported on 12 June 2008. The other options are a takeover by an investment fund and a floation of the unit. However, these two options are seen as highly unlikely due to the currently unfavourable state of the market, according to Les Echos. Under the preferred industrialist-financier takeover scenario, the controlling package of stocks will go to an industrial group, the financier partner will have 25% and Saint-Gobain would also keep a 25% stake. Les Echos reported that Ireland“s Ardagh Glass, Mexican Vitro and Spanish Vidrala are among the companies that have shown interest. The packaging division of the French company booked revenue of EUR 3.5 billion (USD 5.4 billion) in 2007. The unit is valued at nearly EUR 4.0 billion (USD 6.1 billion). According to Les Echos, Saint-Gobain is currently working on a solution with French bank BNP Paribas, US JP Morgan and Bank of America for the divestment of its packaging division. The French daily pointed out that the company has confirmed that it was studying several options for the sale of the entity and that some companies have already shown interest in it. However, the firm made clear that “no process is under way”.