Rio Tinto said to be in talks with Sun European over Alcan beauty sale

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Rio Tinto Group is rumored to be in talks with Sun European over the sale of the Alcan Packaging Beauty unit.

The unit has been up for sale since the company took over the Alcan Group in 2007, and according to a report in the most current edition of Business Week, private equity firm Sun European is trying to reach an agreement on the terms of the acquisition.

Sun European has been competing with companies including US-based Carlyle Group and France-based Butler Capital Partners, according to sources close to the deal who had spoken to the publication.

All the companies linked to the talks have declined to comment on whether or not they have any involvement in the negotiations.

Price tag likely to exceed $130m

Those sources also stated their belief that the price tag for the business is likely to be in excess of $130m, while the transaction is also likely to include significant restructuring costs.

The Alcan beauty packaging unit is mainly concerned with the manufacturing of packaging for color cosmetics, skin care and toiletries, promotional items, fragrances and collapsible tubes.

It employs 8,500 workers worldwide and achieved sales of $932m in 2008, derived from its 26 manufacturing sites in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Rio Tinto always intended to sell off Alcan packaging units

When Rio Tinto bought the Alcan group in 2007 for $38.1bn the company made it clear that it would be separating the packaging arm and the aluminum mining division of the newly acquired business.

At the time, the takeover spawned the creation of a giant aluminum firm called Rio Tinto Alcan but as part of the deal it was always the intention for Alcan packaging to be sold off separately.

Approximately 13 percent of Alcan Packaging’s $6bn turnover was estimated to be derived from its beauty packaging division, while the remaining turnover was chiefly derived from its aluminum beverage can business.

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