Blackstone's First IPO of 2010: Graham Packaging

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 |  Includes: BX, GRM
by: Abbi Adest

Graham Packaging (NYSE:GRM), a leading supplier of plastic containers for food/beverage and other consumer products owned by Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), is expected to price its IPO this week.

Business Overview (from prospectus)

We are a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of value-added, custom blow molded plastic containers for branded consumer products. We operate in product categories where customers and end users value the technology and innovation that our custom plastic containers offer as an alternative to traditional packaging materials such as glass, metal and paperboard. We selectively pursue opportunities where we can leverage our technology portfolio to continue to drive the trend of conversion to plastic containers from other packaging materials. Our customers include leading multi-national and regional blue-chip consumer product companies that seek customized, sustainable plastic container solutions in diverse and stable end markets, such as the food and beverage and the household consumer products markets. We believe we are well-positioned to meet the evolving needs of our customers who often use our technology to differentiate their products with value-added design and performance characteristics such as smooth-wall panel-less bottles, unique pouring and dispensing features, multilayer bottles incorporating barrier technologies to extend shelf life, and ultra lightweight bottles with “hot-fill” capabilities that allow containers to be filled at high temperatures.

Offering: 23.3 million shares at $14 - $16 per share. Net proceeds of approximately $157.8 million will be used to purchase newly-issued limited partnership units from Graham Packaging Holdings Company.

Lead Underwriters: Citi (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB)

Financial Highlights:

Net sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, decreased $267.0 million, or 13.3%, from the nine months ended September 30, 2008... Gross profit for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, increased $16.2 million, or 5.4%, from the nine months ended September 30, 2008... net income was $60.9 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, compared to net income of $37.1 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2008...

Competition:

We face substantial regional and international competition across our product lines from a number of well-established businesses. In our North American segment, our primary competitors are Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH (“Alpla”), Amcor Limited (“Amcor”) (OTCPK:AMCRY), Ball Corporation (“Ball”) (NYSE:BLL), Consolidated Container Company LLC, Constar International Inc (OTC:CNRN), Liquid Container L.P., Plastipak, Inc. (“Plastipak”) and Silgan Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SLGN). In our European segment, our primary competitors are Alpla and Logoplaste Mealhada Lda. (“Logoplaste”). In our South American segment, our primary competitors are Alpla, Amcor, Plastipak and Logoplaste. We face competition from most of these companies across our product categories. Competition is based on several factors including price, product design, technology (such as barrier protection and lightweighting) and customer service. Several of these competitors are larger and have greater financial and other resources than us. In addition, several of these competitors sell other products used by our customers such as cans or flexible packaging which can be bundled with plastic containers in sales proposals. We believe that we compete effectively because of our superior levels of service, speed to market and product design and development capabilities.

Additional Resources: