French investment firm buys Vienna-based Constantia Flexibles

Constantia Flexibles GmbH, one of Europe’s largest flexible packaging companies, has a new owner.

Paris-based Wendel Group announced Dec. 23 that it agreed to buy Constantia from One Equity Partners, which is New York-based JP Morgan Chase & Co.'s private equity firm, and the H. Turnauer Foundation. Wendel is paying 2.3 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for the company, or around nine times estimated 2014 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Constantia has grown rapidly under One Equity’s ownership. Thomas Unger, CEO of Constantia Flexibles, said in a news release: “In recent years, Constantia Flexibles has developed from a regionally focused provider in Europe into a globally active group present in the most attractive and fastest growing markets for flexible packaging. We have positioned the company outstandingly for further profitable growth, and we will be working with our new owner to realize this potential in the future.”

Wendel expects to close on the purchase in the first half of 2015. Vienna-based Constantia is one of the 40 largest European producers and converters of plastics film, according to European Plastics News. One Equity bought Constantia Packaging in 2010, then split the plastics unit from the aluminum and paperboard portion in 2011.

Constantia Flexibles employs 8,000 at 42 production locations in 18 countries. In 2013 it posted EBITDA of 233 million euros on sales of 1.63 billion euros. According to One Equity, since its investment, sales have by 73 percent and EBITDA by 76 percent.

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