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Rexam sales up in 2012 on regained US market share

Keywords: Tags  Rexam, Graham Chipchase, beverage cans, Jethro Wookey

LONDON — Global packaging company Rexam Plc posted a moderate increase in revenue last year after regaining a large part of the U.S. beverage can market share that it lost in 2011.

The London-based company’s sales increased 1.9 percent to £4.31 billion ($6.58 billion) from £4.23 billion, thanks to a 6-percent increase in total beverage can sales volumes, but net income plunged 43.1 percent to £214 million ($326.3 million) from £376 million.

Rexam’s beverage can sales in the United States grew 12 percent last year, recapturing about a third of the share lost when it renegotiated its contracts with Coca-Cola Co. in 2011.

"Beverage cans traded well, driven by the global growth in specialty cans and a strong recovery in our market share in the U.S.," chief executive officer Graham Chipchase said in a statement released with earnings. "We saw good growth in all our regions, with volumes up 6 percent and organic operating profit increasing by 5 percent."

Rexam is putting a greater focus on its beverage can business after completing the sale of its personal-care business to French packaging company Albéa Group, an affiliate of Sun European Partners LLP, for $459 million in January, and its high-barrier food container business to a subsidiary of Silgan Holdings Inc. for $248.1 million last August.

The company also is investing heavily in its beverage can business after expanding its capacity in India and Australia last year. It opened a new can manufacturing plant in Finland last month, is opening another in Brazil in the coming months and this week announced plans to build yet another new can plant in Switzerland.

"We are continuing to invest in new lines and capacity to support our future growth," Chipchase said. "We expect to make further progress in 2013 despite an uncertain macroeconomic environment and continued cost pressures."

"Further contractual gains in North America and continued growth in our European and South American beverage can businesses give us confidence we will achieve our 15-percent (return on capital employed) target," Chipchase said.

A version of this story was first published in AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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