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British Industrial History

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Rexam Plc is a British multinational consumer packaging company headquartered in London. It is the largest manufacturer of beverage cans in the world and a leading producer of rigid plastic packaging. It has around 70 plants in 25 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

1881 The company that became W. V. Bowater and Sons was founded by William Vansittart Bowater in London, agents for paper.

In 1923 his son, Eric, began the work that refocused the business into paper manufacturing under the name Bowater Paper Mills.

1956 The Company diversified into tissue manufacturing forming Bowater-Scott, a joint venture with the Scott Corporation.

1984 Demerger of the North American newsprint and pulp operations, as Bowater Inc

Bowater Industries plc, as the UK-based firm was known after the de-merger, became a business with 5 functionally organized operating groups. In the UK, the manufacture of packaging was the leading activity, and the building products activities were mostly in the United Kingdom and Europe.

1987 Acquired Rexham Corporation, a manufacturer of plastic, paper and foil, based in North Carolina.

1995 the name of the group was changed to Rexam, an abbreviation of the name of one of the Company's subsidiaries, Regal Paper America, and the business was refocused again – this time into consumer packaging, selling off the various other business unit.

1998 Negotiating the sale of the industrial packaging division[1]

1999 Exited glazing businesses, disposing of the German business and selling Bowater Windows to its management[2]

1999 Acquired Swedish packaging group PLM

2000 Acquired American National Can

2001 Sold the US building and engineering business unit, MiTek, to Berkshire Hathaway[3]

2005 Rexam disposed of its glass manufacturing businesses to Ardagh Glass Group so as to concentrate on its beverage can production worldwide. It then went on to acquire O-I Plastics, a plastic packaging business in North America, in 2007.

In June 2011 Rexam agreed to sell its lid-making operations to the U.S. based Berry Plastics for £222 million (US$360 million).

2014 Rexam acquired 51 percent of United Arab Can Manufacturing Ltd

Rexam has around 70 plants in 25 countries and employs around 19,000 people. Its operations span Europe, the Americas and Asia.

2016 Ball Corporation acquired Rexam, creating one of the world's largest consumer-packaging suppliers. Ball was required to sell 8 U.S. aluminium can plants.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Oct. 14, 1998
  2. The Times Oct. 15, 1999
  3. The Times June 13, 2001