In­de­pen­dent Can to buy Ball Corp. di­vi­sion

Rosedale plant pro­duces spe­cialty tins; no lay­offs

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - By Colin Camp­bell and Lor­raine Mirabella cm­camp­bell@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/cm­camp­bell6 lor­raine.mirabella@balt­sun.com

In­de­pen­dent Can Co., the Bel­camp­based, fam­ily-owned spe­cialty metal pack­ag­ing and print­ing firm, said Mon­day it has agreed to ac­quire the Rosedale-based spe­cialty tin di­vi­sion of Ball Corp.

Ball Corp., based in Broom­field, Colo. said it plans to sell its tin-mak­ing plant off Pu­laski High­way for about $25 mil­lion.

The fa­cil­ity, which em­ploys 55 peo­ple, makes spe­cialty and cus­tom tin-plate cans for cus­tomers who sell cos­met­ics, pro­mo­tional items and other prod­ucts.

The sale is ex­pected to close dur­ing the fourth quar­ter.

In­de­pen­dent Can said the com­pa­nies share a sim­i­lar cul­ture and have a long his­tory of work­ing to­gether.

“Bal­ti­more is a phe­nom­e­nal lo­ca­tion for can mak­ing, and the two com­pa­nies re­ally com­ple­ment each other,” Rick Huether, pres­i­dent and board chair­man of In­de­pen­dent Can, said in a state­ment.

More than half of In­de­pen­dent Can’s busi­ness comes from printed dec­o­ra­tive cans for prod­ucts such as cof­fee, fruit­cakes, candy and Zippo lighter fluid. Huether said In­de­pen­dent will gain ex­pe­ri­enced work­ers and a fifth plant to add to ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Bel­camp, Ohio and Iowa.

In­de­pen­dent Can will ex­pand to 425 em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing the work­ers at the Rosedale plant, with 325 peo­ple based in the Bal­ti­more area.

“Putting the two com­pa­nies to­gether does make us stronger,” Huether said in an in­ter­view.

The spe­cialty can in­dus­try has con­sol­i­dated over the past two decades, he said, and In­de­pen­dent Can has been able to ex­pand through ac­qui­si­tions and by in­vest­ing in new equip­ment that has helped to re­duce costs.

Ball of­fi­cials said they de­cided to sell the Rosedale plant, for­merly known as Steeltin Can Co., to fo­cus on a long-term strat­egy of ex­pand­ing the com­pany’s food and aerosol busi­ness. Rick Huether

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The Rosedale plant, which Ball ac­quired a decade ago in an ac­qui­si­tion of U.S. Can Corp., is the com­pany’s only spe­cialty tin plant.

“ICC’s busi­ness is spe­cialty tins, so sell­ing the Bal­ti­more plant to them is ideal be­cause it com­ple­ments the rest of their busi­ness,” Ball spokes­woman Renee Robin­son said Mon­day. No lay­offs are ex­pected, she said.

Ball, which had sales of $11 bil­lion last year, also op­er­ates man­u­fac­tur­ing plants in Lan­ham, An­napo­lis Junc­tion and Wash­ing­ton. These plants make aero­space prod­ucts, and are not part of the sale to In­de­pen­dent Can.

Mike Gali­azzo, pres­i­dent of the Re- gional Man­u­fac­tur­ing In­sti­tute of Mary­land, said the ac­qui­si­tion is a good sign for man­u­fac­tur­ing in the state.

“It’s good that a com­pany of that high qual­ity is pur­chas­ing an­other com­pany that has a good rep­u­ta­tion,” Gali­azzo said. “It can only lead to a much stronger man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion. ...

“It’s al­ways good news when you see a Mary­land man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany ex­pand­ing to be able to be more glob­ally com­pet­i­tive.”

The Steeltin plant opened in 1914. Later, it was a com­peti­tor of In­de­pen­dent Can, founded by the Parker fam­ily in 1929 on South Howard Street as one of the first com­pa­nies to man­u­fac­ture cans and also print their la­bels.

Huether’s grand­par­ents, Harry L. and Martha May Huether, bought the com­pany in 1949.

For a time in the late 1940s and early 1950s, In­de­pen­dent and Steeltin had fa­cil­i­ties close to­gether on Pres­i­dent Street. In­de­pen­dent Can moved to Can­ton in 1951 and to Har­ford County in 1985.

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