Blackstone doubles packaging platform

Graham Packaging, majority-owned by the New York-based private equity firm, will pay $1.2bn for the plastic container business of Owens-Illinois.

Graham Packaging, owned by The Blackstone Group, has agreed to buy the plastic container business of Owens-Illinois for roughly $1.2 billion (€998 million), bolstering a packaging platform the New York firm has owned since 1998.

Graham Packaging, 15 percent owned by the Graham family of Pennsylvania, makes blow-molded plastic packaging. The add-on will more than double the number of employees and grow the number of plants globally to 57 from 26. Graham Packaging will remain based in York, Pennsylvania.

The transaction will see the company’s debt get refinanced by a team of lenders including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, according to a press release.

In 2000 and 2001, Blackstone and its group of co-investors injected an additional $100 million into Graham Packaging as it reported weak performance. Blackstone bought control of the company from Donald Graham in 1998 for $977 million. Management and DB Capital (now MidOcean Partners) participated in the deal.

Blackstone senior managing director Howard Lipsen oversees the Graham Packaging platform for the firm.

The Graham family runs a private equity firm of its own in Wayne, Pennsylvania called Graham Partners.