Ardagh to close US beer bottle plant amid weak demand

Company was acquired as part of $1.7bn deal in 2014

Paul Coulson: he is chairman, chief executive and holder of a 33%   stake in Ardagh Group

Paul Coulson: he is chairman, chief executive and holder of a 33% stake in Ardagh Group

 

Ardagh Group, the Irish-led glass and metal containers manufacturer, has decided to close a US glass bottle site it acquired almost four years ago as it grapples with a decline in demand in the mass beer market.

The Luxembourg-based group, headed by Dublin financier Paul Coulson, said on Monday that it would permanently close the Milford, Massachusetts-based facility, which employs about 250 people, at around the end of March.

The company acquired the plant, which began operations in 1973 and has been producing beer bottles since 1987, as part of its $1.7 billion (€1.4bn) purchase of Verallia North America in April 2014 from French group Saint Gobain.

Ardagh Group partly blamed a depressed US beer market, as well as weakness in the dollar against the euro, when it scaled back its 2017 earnings forecast in October for the second time in three months.

It expects to post earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of €1.34 billion, having originally predicted at the time of its flotation on the New York Stock Exchange last March that it would turn in €1.4 billion.

The group, which employs 23,500 people and has global sales of approximately €7.7 billion, said the decision to close the Milford facility was a result of a review it had been carrying out of its North American glass operations.

Ardagh Group, where Mr Coulson is chairman, chief executive and holder of a 33 per cent stake, will update the market on the conclusions of the review at its full-year results on February 22nd.