Milwaukee Ball Corp. location to be part of new joint venture

Ball Metalpack formed with Platinum Equity

The Ball Corp. facility on Milwaukee's far northwest side will be part of a new joint venture.

A 500,000-square-foot facility on Milwaukee’s far northwest side is among the assets Indiana-based Ball Corp. is contributing to a new joint venture with California-based Platinum Equity.

Ball is selling its U.S. steel feed and aerosol packaging manufacturing assets to Platinum. In exchange, the company will receive more than $600 million in pre-tax proceeds and a 49 percent stake in Ball Metalpack, a new joint venture.

A 400,000-square-foot facility in DeForest is also included in the deal, but the company’s Fort Atkinson plant, part of its beverage packaging business, is not.

Approximately 1,300 of Ball’s 8,100 employees will transfer to the new company. A total of 150 Wisconsin employees, about 75 at each location, will transfer to the new joint venture, according to Renee Robinson, director of corporate communications at Ball Corp.

Jim Peterson, senior vice president and chief operating officer for global food and aerosol packaging at Ball,  will be chief executive officer of the new joint venture.

All of the assets included in the deal had combined sales of $746 million last year and comparable operating earnings of $48 million. As a company, Ball had net sales of nearly $11 billion and comparable operating earnings of $1.22 billion, according to securities filings.

“We have a longstanding relationship with the Platinum Equity team. They have created tremendous value in the packaging sector, our management knows them well and we are confident they are the ideal partner. The upfront cash proceeds and our retained stake in the joint venture company will benefit Ball shareholders,” said John Hayes, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ball.

More than half of the proceeds from the deal will be used to repurchase Ball stock, Hayes said.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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