SOUTH AFRICA – Ardagh Group, global supplier of metal and glass packaging, has finalized the acquisition of Consol Group, Africa’s largest glass packaging maker by manufacturing capacity.

This follows regulatory approvals by both Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal of South Africa subject to conditions relating to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment/worker ownership, employment, investment in capacity, glass recycling, production of dining glassware, and the manufacture of food jars, among others.

The acquisition tagged at US$1 billion including net debt assumed in Consol, represents a significant inward investment into the South African and other markets in which Consol operates, with a further ZAR 3 billion (US$200 million) investment programme in two new furnaces.

Consol, headquartered in Johannesburg, operates four well-invested glass production facilities in South Africa. It also operates smaller production facilities in Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

It serves a broad range of leading international, regional and domestic customers, principally in the beer, wine, spirits, food and non-alcoholic beverage sectors.

Following the deal, the Luxembourg-based Ardagh, will operate 65 production facilities in 16 countries, on four continents, employ approximately 20,000 people and have annual sales approaching $10 billion.

Paul Coulson, Chairman and CEO of Ardagh, said, “We are delighted to have completed this strategic acquisition. By combining Ardagh’s global reach with Consol’s know-how on the African continent, we are very well-positioned to partner with our customers to meet the growing consumer demand in Africa for premium, sustainable glass packaging.”

Ardagh Group’s acquisition of Consol will enable further opportunities for future investment in glass manufacturing in Africa.

To this end, Ardagh is committed to a third furnace investment at its Nigel facility in Gauteng which will add to the existing N2 expansion project due for start-up in May 2022.

These combined investments will total ZAR 3 billion (US$200 million) and create more than 250 direct jobs, with significant ancillary supply-chain expenditure resulting from these projects.

Change of guard

Following the change of ownership, Bruce MacRobert, former Chairman of Consol, has become Chairman of Ardagh Glass Packaging Holdings Africa (Pty) Limited.

“Ardagh’s investment in Consol and in the expansion of glass production in Africa is testament to Ardagh’s faith in the Consol team and in Africa’s potential,” said Bruce.

Meanwhile, Mike Arnold stepped down as CEO of Consol after a very successful 20-year tenure in that role.

He will become a director of Ardagh Glass Packaging Holdings Africa (Pty) Limited and will be part of the Ardagh executive team responsible for growing Ardagh’s presence in Africa.

To succeed him is Paul Curnow, previously CEO Designate. He will also become a director of Ardagh Glass Packaging Holdings Africa (Pty) Limited.

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