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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Expanding Consumer Portfolio

Nov 14, 2022 06:10PM ● By David Dykes

Sonoco Announces Agreement to Acquire Westrock’s Remaining Interest in Joint Venture

Sonoco Products Company (NYSE: SON), a diversified global packaging leader, said it has entered a definitive agreement to purchase the remaining equity interest in RTS Packaging, LLC from joint venture partner WestRock Company and one WestRock paper mill in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for $330 million in cash, subject to customary price adjustments.

Sonoco officials said the valuation is approximately 6.6x adjusted EBITDA without synergies and 5x adjusted EBITDA pro forma for synergies. Sonoco also said it anticipates it will be able to achieve $40 million of tax benefits from the transaction.

Upon completion of the transaction, Sonoco will own 100 percent of RTS, formerly operated as a joint venture between Sonoco (35 percent ownership interest) and WestRock (65 percent ownership interest).

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Sonoco board of directors, is expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

RTS Packaging was formed in 1997 as a joint venture that combined the former protective packaging operations of WestRock (formerly known as Rock-Tenn Company) and Sonoco to market solid fiber partitions from 100 percent recycled paperboard to glass container manufacturers and producers of wine, liquor, food, and pharmaceuticals.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2022, the acquired assets are expected to generate sales of approximately $270 million and EBITDA of $50 million. In addition, the company expects to drive total synergies of $16 million over the next 24 months following closing.

The transaction will give Hartsville, S.C.-based Sonoco full ownership of 14 converting operations, including 10 in the United States, two in Mexico, and two in South America and one paper mill in the United States.

Upon completion of the transaction, approximately 1,100 individuals will become employees of Sonoco.

The company said it expects to fund the cash acquisition with new borrowings from lenders and cash on hand. 

Nephron, Sharps Announce Manufacturing, Research Partnership

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Sharps Technology, Inc. announced a new partnership focused on developing and sharing best practices in innovative manufacturing, product development, customer support, and quality as Nephron prepares to launch the InjectEZ component of expansion.

Sharps Technology is a medical device and pharmaceutical packaging company specializing in developing and manufacturing innovative drug delivery systems.

Nephron Pharmaceuticals is known across the country to health systems and hospitals as a leader in the production of affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products, as well as pre-filled sterile syringes, luer-lock vials, IV bottles, and IV bags.

InjectEZ is part of the Nephron investment of hundreds of millions of dollars of expansion in Lexington County, S.C., over the last two years. 

Company officials said Lou Kennedy, Nephron CEO, knows that when launching an endeavor as ambitious as InjectEZ, partnerships are key.

Sharps product lines have historically focused on low waste and ultra-low waste syringe technologies, which allow up to 40 percent more injections per vial of therapy while incorporating multiple passive safety features.

Those features protect front-line healthcare workers from life-threatening needle stick injuries and protect the public from needle re-use.

Company officials said the partnership with Nephron opens up opportunities for Sharps to expand its portfolio and make an impact on the specialized pre-fillable syringe and drug delivery systems market.

Sharps Technology will also be partnering with Nephron Pharmaceuticals in the development of a Pharmaceuticals Services Program designed to support health care customers that need innovative solutions and products to support their business.

The development of the program will help create new fill/finish project opportunities for Nephron that will utilize innovative packaging solutions developed by Sharps Technology, company officials said.  

Synovus Announces Recent Hires, Key Leaders in Corporate & Investment Banking Group

Synovus Bank announced additions to its leadership team in its expanding corporate and investment banking (CIB) line of business.

The hires include:

* Alan Grantham, managing director, debt capital markets and credit products. With nearly 20 years of experience in debt capital markets and leveraged finance, Grantham joined Synovus from the leveraged finance team at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

His responsibilities include the origination and execution of high-yield and high-grade debt transactions, and broader acquisition and bridge financing credit delivery.

Grantham previously worked at Deutsche Bank Securities and Goldman Sachs. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland and his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

* Max Thompson, managing director and group head, healthcare services. With nearly 15 years of experience in strategic finance and investment banking, Thompson joined Synovus from Bank of America Securities’ global healthcare group.

His focus areas include behavioral health care, alternative site providers, digital health, health technology, home health and hospice, diagnostics services, medical transportation, pharmaceutical services, and physician practice management.

Thompson previously worked at Tegris Advisors and J.P. Morgan. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Wharton Scholar and University Leadership Scholar.

Grantham and Thompson join these other CIB leaders:

* Jeff Nicolosi, managing director and group head, financial institutions. With 25 years of experience in M&A advisory, capital raising and corporate finance transactions, Nicolosi joined Synovus from Regions Securities, where he led coverage of insurance and insurance services, among other sectors.

His focus areas include asset and wealth managers, broker-dealers, capital markets firms, investment banks, insurance carriers, and insurance distribution and service providers. Nicolosi previously worked in financial institutions investment banking and M&A at KeyBanc Capital Markets. He received his bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and his MBA from the University of Chicago.

* Jim Ritchie, managing director and CIB credit executive. Ritchie has more than 27 years of corporate credit experience, including 20 years of service at PNC and its predecessors, where he served as executive vice president and head of the credit products group.

He was responsible for underwriting and portfolio management of a $120 billion loan portfolio, including industry and regional credits and sponsor finance. He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business.

* Keith Sipes, managing director and group head, technology, media and communications (TMC). With 22 years of M&A advisory and corporate finance experience, Sipes joined Synovus from Berenson & Company.

His practice includes business intelligence, data, analytics, fintechs, industrial technology, tech-enabled business, and broadcasting, cable and satellite providers. His prior TMC investment banking experience includes Stout Capital, Sterne Agee CRT, Stifel/Thomas Weisel, Merrill Lynch and Lazard Freres & Co. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and an MBA from Columbia University.

An extension of Synovus’ commercial and corporate banking strategies, the CIB line of business delivers industry-specific financial advice and customized banking and capital markets solutions to select public, private equity-backed, and emerging growth companies.

The CIB team clarifies complex financial matters and helps businesses identify, evaluate, and structure potential corporate finance and advisory-related transactions.

Synovus Bank, a Georgia-chartered, FDIC-insured bank, provides commercial and retail banking and a full suite of specialized products and services, including private banking, treasury management, wealth management, mortgage services, premium finance, asset-based lending, structured lending, capital markets and international banking.

Synovus has branches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.

Duke Energy, Harvest Hope Food Bank 'Pack the Pantry' Kick Off Campaign To Fight Hunger In South Carolina

Duke Energy joined Harvest Hope Food Bank in Florence to "Pack the Pantry" and kick off a monthlong campaign to support organizations in South Carolina that address food insecurities and inequities across the state.

In addition to purchasing the food that volunteers packed, the event also included a $100,000 grant to Harvest Hope to help expand mobile food pantries to those in the most rural areas of the Pee Dee.

Duke Energy's monthlong initiative will provide over $325,000 to more than 40 feeding programs leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and culminating in final surprise grant announcements on Giving Tuesday.

The inaugural "Pack the Pantry" event brought together dozens of volunteers from the downtown Florence business community to help pack a thousand boxes of shelf-stable food at the FMU Performing Arts Center that will be distributed at food banks during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The event also included a public drive-through for food donations.

Harvest Hope is South Carolina's largest food bank, providing more than 20 million meals on average to neighbors in need across the Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate.

Throughout November, Duke Energy will highlight the critical community partners like Harvest Hope and others, including Mill Village FarmsFoodShare South CarolinaUnited Way Association of South Carolina and AIM.

Duke Energy employees and retirees will volunteer their time and efforts with these and other organizations throughout the month to assist in packing and distributing food boxes, as well as providing sweat equity to other feeding programs in their neighborhoods.

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