Gerresheimer expands pharma glass ops

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmacology Pharmaceutical drug

German packaging firm Gerresheimer has bought up the glass
manufacturing operations of an American packaging company in its
second significant acquisition in three months.

Gerresheimer announced this week that its US subsidiary, Kimble Glass, has acquired the pharma-glass operations of US manufacturer Comar for an undisclosed sum. Through the transaction, Gerresheimer gain the real estate, manufacturing equipment, plant operations and management personnel associated with Comar's glass manufacturing operations. Comar uses tubular glass to produce pharmaceutical vials and system components, thus complementing and adding to Gerresheimer's own tubular glass division. Gerresheimer's existing tubular glass manufacturing focuses on vials, ampoules and cartridges, with particular emphasis on highly-developed syringe systems for injectable drug delivery. In 2005, 37 per cent of Gerresheimer's business was through the tubular glass division, and during the first three-quarters of 2006 the business unit has generated net sales of €180.1m. According to the company, the sale of the glass manufacturing plant of French subsidiary Verretubex in June 2006 had an impact on third quarter sales, but full year results due out today will show how much of an effect the sale will have had over the rest of the year. Comar sales in the pharma glass sector totalled around $24m (€18m) in 2006, which will make a healthy contribution to Gerresheimer's coffers, and with the deal anticipated to be complete by the end of the month and full transition of the glass operations to Gerresheimer to take place within six months, the company can begin to take advantage of its newest assets fairly swiftly. Comar will, however, be hanging onto its glass pipette manufacturing business, due to be relocated to alternative Comar facilities. This will be only remnants of the company's glass manufacture that will be retained, as it concentrates its efforts on the plastics packaging market. "Comar has the market leading share in the combined glass and plastic dropper assembly markets,"​ Dennis Paris of Comar told "Additionally, Comar's ability to manufacture all plastic, rubber, monprene bulb and glass pipette components, including printing and secondary wrapping operations, makes the retention of the glass pipette business a logical decision." ​ The company's initial decision to divest the majority of its glass manufacturing arm was the result of customer pressure to respond to additional volume demand and capacity requirements, as well as the ability to provide consistently uninterrupted manufacturing services. Comar will now focus on growing its plastics business, with the cash received from the Gerresheimer deal contributing to the expansion. The company has secured the services of an investment bank to advise on potential acquisitions to boost the plastics business, and the company is "actively in search of a company with plastic molding manufacturing capabilities and capacity that matches Comar's objectives." ​ The company also considers the medical device market to be of "strategic interest," and says it is very close to advancements in engineered plastics. Gerresheimer is also advancing its position in the plastics market, only a few months ago announcing the acquisition of German firm Wilden, a market leader in plastic pharmaceutical drug delivery systems. This acquisition was a major catch for Gerresheimer, as the company is forecast to generate around €240m of additional annual sales through the Wilden purchase, two thirds of which comes from the company's medical plastics systems comprising pharmaceutics, diagnostics, medical technology and consumer healthcare. Pharmaceutical and life science related turnover accounts for around 75 per cent of Gerresheimer's revenues, and the company is aggressively pursuing expansion plans, having also made a handful of acquisitions to break into the Chinese market during the past year.

Related topics Drug Delivery

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